Department of Homeland Security Announces New Work Permit Rule Proposal for Asylum Seekers Who Enter U.S. Illegally

The Department of Homeland Security has released a new rule proposal that would require people who entered the U.S. illegally before seeking asylum to wait at least one year before they can apply for employment authorization. 

The rule proposal published Thursday in the Federal Register extends the waiting period to file for the right to work legally in the U.S. from 150 days after the time of their asylum application to 365 days.

Under the current rules, asylum seekers who entered the country illegally can begin working legally in the U.S. after a waiting period of 180 days.

There also are other rule changes in the proposal that lawyers and immigrant rights groups have voiced concerns about. The proposal is subject to a public comment period that ends on Jan. 13, 2020.

“DHS recognizes that a number of aliens who are legitimate asylum seekers may experience potential economic hardship because of the extended waiting period,” the proposal reads.

“However, the asylum system in the United States is completely overwhelmed. DHS is urgently seeking solutions, including mustering an all-volunteer force to assist with processing incoming migrants at the southwest border of the United States.”

The agency said that the “urgency to maintain the efficacy and the very integrity of the U.S. asylum and immigration system outweighs any hardship that may be imposed by the additional six-month waiting period.”

“The integrity and preservation of the U.S. asylum system takes precedence over potential economic hardship faced by alien arrivals who enjoy no legal status in the United States, whether or not those aliens may later be found to have meritorious claims,” the proposal contends.

Critics of the proposal fear that it will make it more costly for communities to host and support asylum seekers who entered the country illegally.

Immigrants with a credible fear of harm or persecution in their home country can apply for asylum even if they entered the country illegally. If their applications are accepted, they are considered legally present in the country.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith