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Expert: Lack of Work Permits, Legal Avenues Stymie Migrants

January 26, 2024 (1 min read)

Carine Hajjar, Boston Globe, Jan. 26, 2024

"[C]urrent policies at the border funnel migrants into a system where their long-term legal claim to "the American dream" is uncertain, and for many, unlikely. ...  In the end, many migrants "will lose [their case for] asylum, either because they don't have an attorney to represent them or they don't have a strong case on the merits," says Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law at Cornell Law School. Coming from countries with difficult political circumstances isn't enough - asylum is granted based on persecution due to race, religion, nationality, membership in a "particular social group," or political opinion. "It's very hard to show that the persecution is well founded based on one of those five characteristics," explains Yale-Loehr.  When the dust settles, migrants will generally fall into three categories: those who qualify for asylum, those who don't and could face deportation, and those who have disappeared into the shadows. Guerra, of the Niskanen Center, believes there will be a "large population [of migrants] who may be precluded from working or who basically live in total and complete uncertainty.”  "That's bad for our legal system, it's bad for our economy, and it's also bad for the migrants themselves," Yale-Loehr says. ... Yale-Loehr and his colleagues recently wrote a paper expressing the imperative to "expand other legal avenues of migrants to the United States" beyond asylum. "We cannot cut off all avenues to asylum, but we also cannot continue to accept applications from all who arrive, especially those with highly unlikely claims," they write."