AGs Form Coalition Challenging Trump Restrictions on Asylum Seekers Obtaining Work Authorization


By Nick Gardner

NEW YORK– The Trump Administration recently announced a new set of restrictions on employment authorization for asylum seekers, and Tuesday, New York Attorney General Letitia James, alongside District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine, 20 state attorneys general and 10 major cities and counties, announced a coalition challenging Trump’s efforts.

The restrictions, composed of two new rules, will bar many asylum seekers from obtaining an authorization to work. James has filed an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court of Washington in hopes of temporarily blocking Trump’s actions.

“The Trump Administration is once again creating arbitrary and unlawful hurdles for immigrants trying to build a life for themselves here in America,” James said, adding these asylum seekers—who have fled their countries from war, famine, and other harmful conditions—will be financially burdened by these “morally dangerous” new restrictions.

James also noted how state economies will likely suffer from this decision, as asylum seekers’ economic activity has a significant effect on state tax revenue.

The restrictions will change the way asylum seekers obtain authorization for employment in two ways. First, asylum seekers will be required to wait a year before applying for employment authorization, and many of these people will be barred from obtaining this authorization altogether.

The second restriction will change the requirements for processing employment authorization applications. Previously, a longstanding requirement called for these applications to be processed within 30 days, however, under Trump’s rules, this window will no longer exist. In absence of this requirement, states will have the ability to disregard these applications indefinitely.

The economic ramifications of Trump’s restrictions were highlighted by James in the amicus brief.

Also of importance was the reality of asylum seekers’ inability to access employer sponsored healthcare. James and her coalition believe that this will force states to cover increased health and welfare. Moreover, this economic burden will unproportionally affect states backing the amicus brief, who account for over 65 percent of the individuals granted asylum in the U.S., or 26 million immigrants. These states are as listed: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

Also supporting the amicus brief are the cities of Albuquerque, NM; Chicago, IL; Los Angeles, CA; Madison, WI; Minneapolis, MN; New York, NY; Oakland, CA; Seattle, WA; as well as Cook County, Illinois, and Howard County, Maryland.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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