Law Offices of Cindy Ramjattan Paul - Immigration lawyer, Nutley, NJ

Asylum Seekers Lose Work Authorizations and Ability to Support Themselves

On August 25, 2020, a new rule concerning asylum seekers will be put into effect which would block work permits for almost all asylum applicants who arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border. No one who has crossed any other ports of entry into another country is ineligible to apply for a work permit essentially depriving them of livelihood. Congress has made clear that it is legal to seek asylum after crossing the border between ports of entry so this new rule is a direct contradiction. Please also note that this only applies to immigrants crossing in through the Mexican border.

There’s an exception to the rule that is barely of any help. The exception only applies to people who present themselves to a border official, request asylum within 48 hours, and can show “good cause” for not going to a port of entry. It is expected for an individual traveling across country borders on foot to reach a border official within 48 hours. The consideration of what a good cause is extremely narrow, unclear,  and not completely defined in the proposed rule.. 

Another detrimental aspect to this rule is that, asylum seekers will now have to wait 365 days after filing an asylum application to seek a work permit instead of the current 180 days. If an asylum seeker already is in possession of a work permit they are still in danger of it being removed from them.  Anyone who lost their case at the Board of Immigration Appeals and wanted to appeal to a federal court or asylum seekers convicted of a wide variety of minor crimes are all liable to have their permit revoked.

What does DHS have to say about these abusive new rules?  DHS has stated that asylum seekers “should become familiar with the homelessness resources provided by the state where they intend to reside.” And they are “confident that those [individuals] legitimately fleeing persecution will be willing to adapt to the longer wait period for employment authorization”. In other words take your pick homelessness or working illegally and risk being denied asylum all while paying taxes.