A significant portion of House Democrats are urging President Biden to implement executive actions that would aid immigrants and asylum-seekers in acquiring work permits.
103 Democratic legislators have signed a letter detailing three potential legal strategies that could allow certain undocumented immigrants and asylum-seekers to legally work, with some even gaining the chance to pursue permanent residency.
This move by the House Democrats aligns with demands made by a few Democratic senators and various labor, religious, and civil rights groups that have been pushing for a more active stance on work permit issuance.
The legislators highlighted their backing for the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) expansion, but mainly focused on specific policy recommendations related to certain regulations.
Their letter, initially shared by Politico, read, “We strongly encourage the administration to utilize every available resource to ensure stability for undocumented people and newly arrived asylum seekers, enabling them to work legally, sustain their families, and bolster the economy.”
Though the emphasis was primarily on work permits for asylum-seekers, the lawmakers pointed out the challenges many face due to administrative backlogs, which inhibit them from applying for work permits and, consequently, from contributing to the U.S. economy.
The current law dictates that asylum-seekers can only obtain work documents after their application has been pending for half a year. The representatives suggested reducing certain regulatory timeframes to help asylum-seekers obtain work permits more promptly.
They further proposed that the administration should extend its use of parole, as immigrants granted parole aren’t constrained by the six-month waiting period.
The letter also highlighted two other propositions popular among immigration advocates:
Reevaluating the provisional waiver program that focuses on immigrants eligible for visas or green cards but have an illegal U.S. stay exceeding six months. The lawmakers emphasized the increasing delays in the waiver program and recommended using parole as a potential solution.
Enhancing the program allowing longstanding undocumented immigrants to request halts to deportation proceedings. This is targeted at immigrants who’ve been in the U.S. for over a decade, with minimal to no criminal records, and whose departure would severely affect their U.S.-based families. The representatives emphasized the paradox in the system and appealed for a safer, more coordinated approach for eligible individuals to seek this relief.