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Expert: Only Congress Can Address Work Permit Delay for Asylum Applicants

September 01, 2023 (1 min read)

Tim Balk, NY Daily News, Aug. 31, 2023

"Mayor Adams on Thursday urged the federal government to “stand up” and expedite work authorizations for asylum seekers pouring into New York, continuing calls that he began a year ago as relations between New York leaders and the White House remain tense. ... Asylum seekers must wait for months to get their work papers approved: the standard 150-day gap between when they submit asylum papers and work permit applications is complicated by a backlogged work authorization system, creating extensive delays.  The federal Citizenship and Immigration Services agency was gutted under former President Donald Trump and has worked to catch up under President Biden, said Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law at Cornell University.  The 150-day delay between asylum applications and work permit requests cannot be changed without an act of Congress, Yale-Loehr noted — a step considered highly unlikely in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. The federal government reported it is processing 80% of asylum seekers’ work authorization submissions within two months.  The waits pose a headache for local officials who are working to get tens of thousands of migrants out of the shelter system and integrated into the workforce."