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Migrants Desperate for Jobs Trapped in Asylum Maze

September 08, 2023 (1 min read)

Julia Preston, The Marshall Project, Sept. 8, 2023

"In the early 1990s, asylum seekers could receive work authorization as soon as they filed their claims. Fraudulent claims surged as migrants, often prompted by unscrupulous attorneys, filed for asylum just to get the permits. With changes in 1995 and 1996, the 180-day waiting period was added. The number of new claims plunged, backlogs were reduced, and for a while, cases moved relatively smoothly. ... In Congress, there are bipartisan bills to shorten the work permit waiting period to 30 days. With the partisan rancor in Washington, the measures are unlikely to advance as legislation. Lawyers and advocates on the daily battlefield of immigration have offered more pragmatic proposals. With new rules, they say, officials could simplify the application form, eliminate the stopping-and-starting asylum clock, and issue work permits valid for five years instead of two, to relieve the immigration agency of the burden of renewals."