It was Christmas come early for a cadre of new federal workers. In our best Oprah voice, “You get a job! And you get a job! And you get a job!”
President Obama’s executive order didn’t just lay out the welcome home mat for millions of undocumented people in our borders. It also laid out the welcome mat for a thousand bureaucrats in the nation’s capital to execute on the order.
The federal bureaucracy is expanding as the Citizenship and Immigration Services agency beefs up its ranks to process those who can now “apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation.” Just days after the President made that declaration in a prime-time address, the agency sent out an electronic bulletin calling for resumes for its army of new positions. In addition, the agency just closed on a multi-million dollar lease to house the new workers.
Some of the roles included job titles such as special assistant, management program analyst, and immigration services officer. Administration officials are eager get infrastructure in place that will allow undocumented people to apply for work permits by the early spring. Not only will space be needed, but add a new website, application forms, and people to run background checks and process application fees.
The expected costs of this bureaucratic expansion is $40 million for annual salaries, which averages out to $40,000 a year, and a building lease of nearly $8 million a year.
So who’s paying for all of this? Taxpayers, of course, until process application fees kick in. The agency claims that the fees will ultimately pay for the lease and salary costs, but they aren’t being collected yet.
Is there any recourse? The new Republican Congress will likely take up the debate about funding the immigration order early next year, but by then many of these new jobs will be filled.
The New York Times reports:
The announcement of the new "operational center" among the chain restaurants and high-rises of Crystal City, a Northern Virginia neighborhood used for overflow from the federal agencies in Washington, offers a glimpse into how swiftly a president's words can produce bigger government. It also demonstrates the bureaucracy's ability to swing into action, even during an extended power struggle between the president and Congress.
Although conservatives in Congress are vowing to attack the president's executive action on immigration by blocking the funding for it, plans for the small army of workers are moving forward. The action is part of a larger trend: From 2001 to 2012 — mostly after the Sept. 11 attacks — the government added about 180,000 federal employees, for a total of more than 4.3 million, according to the Office of Personnel Management.
The new center is, of course, a minor outpost compared with agencies that have grown rapidly in the past. When Congress and President George W. Bush agreed in 2002 to create the Department of Homeland Security, Mr. Bush said it would employ 170,000 people.
Decades earlier, the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 and 1966 led to new functions of government and large increases in the bureaucracy.
In 2010, the passage of the Affordable Care Act led to a surge in hiring at the Internal Revenue Service, which asked for about 1,000 new workers to apply the tax credits and enforce other provisions.
This is by no means the biggest expansion of the federal bureaucracy. As noted, the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s, post-September 11, and the passage of ObamaCare in 2010 were all job-creation sprees for the federal government. We can expect more expansion around environmental regulations and other potential executive actions the President takes.
Once again, we’re seeing the bureaucratic consequence of sweeping changes by the Obama administration. The swipe of the President’s pen has greater impacts than just the direct policies that he institutes. It often creates massive new bureaucracies and adds administrative burdens to individuals, companies, and organizations. Unfortunately, the cost is born by taxpayers and future generations that have to pay for it all.