The White House said Wednesday it was “crazy” to attempt to divine the president's post-election plans for an immigration executive order based on a procurement request issued by the Department of Homeland Security.
“I mean, this is crazy,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said, adding he would caution reporters against “making assumptions” based on the “procurement of green paper.”
If fully filled, that would far surpass the current levels processed by the department. The U.S. issues a maximum of 480,000 green cards per year, and processed 862,000 work permits over the first six months of this year.
That's led many conservatives to speculate the order was made in preparation of a sweeping executive order by President Obama that could legalize millions of new or illegal immigrants.
But the White House said Wednesday such speculation was unfounded.
Earnest said those who were interpreting the solicitation as a signal of the president's plans were “a little too cleverly trying to divine” the president's intention, and that Obama had not even made final determinations about what he planned to announce after the election.
A spokesman for the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service also downplayed the significance of the purchase order.
“Solicitations of this nature are frequent practice for all USCIS contracts and allow the Agency to be prepared for fluctuations in the number of immigration applications received, which can arise for any number of reasons,” said USCIS spokesman Chris Bently.
Business and immigration organizations lobbied Obama to expand the green card program for high-tech workers and the relatives of existing U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
They've suggested altering how the federal government issues green cards and specialty visas. Rather than counting each individual family member against the overall cap, the government could instead only count the head of a family — and not siblings, spouses, or children.