AG Urges Against Proposal ‘Obstructing Access’ to Work Permits

November 10, 2019, 11:13 AM HST · Updated November 10, 11:13 AM
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Hawaiʻi attorney general Clare E. Connors, along with 19 other attorneys general, filed a comment letter on Friday in opposition to a Trump Administration proposal that they say would “significantly hinder” asylum-seekers from obtaining work permits.

Currently, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services has 30 days to review asylum-seekers’ work permit applications after they are submitted.

Under the proposed rule, USCIS would eliminate that timeframe, forcing asylum-seekers to potentially wait indefinitely to find out if they will be authorized to work.

“It (the proposal) serves no legitimate purpose but further marginalizes those who want to contribute to the community,” Connors said in a press release.

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According to Connors, delaying decisions on work permits negatively affects the economy, harms asylum-seekers and their families, and could lead them to seek work through exploitative employers in the underground economy.

“Immigrant households contribute billions of dollars in state and local taxes every year and play an integral role in the economy,” the release read.

Without a stable income, Connors explained, asylum-seekers may not be able to hire an attorney, which could disrupt their ability to establish a legitimate asylum claim.

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