AG James leads charge for faster migrant work permits

August 18, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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Attorney General Letitia James is leading a group of 19 attorneys general urging the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to expedite work authorization permits for migrants new to the United States.

In a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the attorneys general highlighted the difficulties experienced by migrants due to long processing times and requested the federal government to rectify these delays, as they hinder migrants’ ability to find work and further strain states that provide support services for them.

“For generations, immigrants have come to New York seeking new opportunities for themselves and their families, and recent arrivals are no different,” Attorney General James said in a statement. “Bureaucratic delays and a lack of work permits are depriving new immigrants of the chance to create a better life here in America. Moreover, these delays are hurting our economy by depriving businesses of a much-needed source of labor.”

While many new migrants are eligible for work authorization, the long waiting times have left them unable to support themselves and their families. This situation is placing an unsustainable burden on states that offer support services to ensure that migrants receive food, shelter, medical care, and education.

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The coalition of attorneys general noted that businesses in sectors such as food service, retail, transportation, and health care are facing an increased demand for workers. They argue that expediting work authorization for migrants will help meet this demand, improve wages and working conditions, and reduce violations of workers’ rights.

In their letter, the attorneys general specifically request that DHS grant work authorization to migrants permitted to remain in the United States, address inconsistent lengths of permitted stay, automatically renew work permits when immigration status is renewed, and make work authorization applications with fee waivers available online.

Attorneys general from Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia have joined Attorney General James in sending the letter to DHS.


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