While legal setbacks have forced the Obama administration to put some implementation of the president's immigration executive actions on hold, billionaire George Soros is helping to bankroll nonprofit groups to sign up illegals seeking to avoid deportation, the Washington Post reported.
The Department of Homeland Security has suspended plans to hire 3,100 new employees to process illegal immigrants that would be shielded from deportation under the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, part of President Barack Obama’s executive actions in November to shield 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation.
In February, a federal judge issued an injunction against the actions in a lawsuit brought by 26 states; the injunction was upheld by a federal appeals court last month, prompting the administration to delay beefing up staff.
Since the court rulings, “everything is on hold,” said Kenneth Palinkas, president of National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council 119, a union that represents about 12,000 Citizenship and Immigration Services employees.
But private nonprofit groups across the country continue to help illegal immigrants sign up for deferred action protection from deportation. Many of these groups are financed by the Open Society Foundations, founded by Soros, which is donating $8 million to organizations for new computers and software to process applications.
“The reality is you can’t turn on a switch in people’s lives and all of the sudden 5 million people pour into the gates of DHS and move into the application process,’’ Ken Zimmerman, director of U.S. programs for the Open Society Foundations, told the Post.
Zimmerman said the organization might donate more.
The DHS delay is turning out to be costly to taxpayers. The new employees were supposed to work out of an 11-story building the DHS leased for $7.8 million per year in Arlington, Virginia, but the building is mostly unused. The building that the DHS leased shortly after Obama issued the action also has $26 million in startup costs, the Post reported.