A group of 50 members of Congress led by Congresswomen Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Nanette Barrigan (D-CA) have submitted official comments to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) opposing a Rule that would more than double the waiting period asylum seekers must wait to apply for work authorization from 150 days to 365 days according to a press release issued by Pingree’s office this morning.
“We are concerned that the proposed changes will cause hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers to wait for much longer periods of time before they can work legally and will prevent many asylum seekers from receiving work authorization at all,” the members wrote.
“Because of backlogs on asylum case processing, these changes would mean that many asylum applicants have to wait years before receiving a final decision on their asylum case or the ability to work lawfully. Also, thousands of asylum seekers who have been legally working while their cases are pending will be unable to renew their work authorizations and will likely be forced to leave their jobs.”
“We are concerned about the impact of the proposed rule on local businesses in our communities,” the members continued. “In an economy with historically low unemployment, employers in many regions are looking to asylum seekers as a source of needed labor when domestic citizen workers are not available. Many business sectors rely heavily on labor of immigrants, including asylum seekers with work authorization, while their cases are pending before an immigration judge or an asylum officer.”
The public comment period ended on Monday, January 13,2019.