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On September 10, 2023, over 100 lawmakers wrote a public letter to President Biden and Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, to request more work authorization availability for asylum seekers and immigrants.

The collective of House Democrats, led by Representatives Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), urged President Biden and Mayorkas to exhaust all tools to “provide stability to undocumented individuals and recently arrived asylum seekers, seeking to work lawfully, support their families, and contribute to the economy”. Though their request does not focus on Temporary Protected Status (TPS), they support ongoing efforts for designation and redesignation since many asylum seekers and immigrants do warrant such.

The letter suggests steps the administration can take to better assist asylum seekers and immigrants who are seeking work authorization.

  • Asylum Regulation and Parole:

    • Urges the administration to ease the undue delays in granting work authorizations to asylum seekers. The administration could assist asylum seekers and their communities by increasing the use of parole and decreasing the regulatory 150-day wait period for asylum seekers to apply for work authorization. The parole process would allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to thoroughly vet each asylum seeker while allowing the individual to apply for work authorization.

  • Provisional Waiver:

    • Urges the administration to take immediate steps to reduce the significant backlog in the “provisional waiver” program and provide appropriate relief to those stuck in the queue. The administration should also consider whether paroling-in-place individuals in the considerable provisional waiver backlog would be warranted for urgent humanitarian reasons or to advance a significant public benefit.

  • Streamlining Existing Cancellation of Removal Procedures:

    • Urges the administration to establish a process to make non-lawful permanent resident cancellation of removal (cancellation of removal) more accessible to those who are eligible. The administration can address this issue by instituting a coordinated process that allows individuals to affirmatively request a review of their cases to make preliminary determinations about their eligibility for this relief.

Click here to view the letter.


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