After the arrival of more than 100,000 migrants to the city of NY In the last year after crossing the border from Mexico, the mayor, Eric Adamsand Governor Kathy Hochul have pleaded with President Joe Biden for one thing — above all else — to ease the crisis:
“Let them work,” the two have repeated. democrats in speeches and interviews.
Increasingly impatient, Biden party leaders in other cities and states have hammered home the same message over the past month, saying the government must make it easier for migrants get a work permit quickly that allows them to pay for their food and accommodation.
But speed up the work permit It is not that simple, neither legally nor bureaucratically, experts in the process indicated. Politically, it may be impossible.
It would take an act of Congress to cut a mandatory six-month waiting period before asylum seekers can apply for work permits. Some leaders democrats They argue that the Biden administration should take measures that do not require House approval. But neither option seems likely. Biden is already facing attacks from republicans who say he is too soft on immigration issues, and his executive has highlighted Congress’ inability to reach an agreement for a comprehensive modification of the immigration system as a justification for other steps that have been taken.
He Department of Homeland Security has sent more than a million text messages urging those who can apply for work permits to do so, but has shown no intention of speeding up the process. The delay in requests This means that the wait almost always exceeds six months.
As frustration mounts, Hochul has said his office is considering the possibility of having the state offer such authorizations, although such a move would almost certainly lead to legal challenges. The White House has discarded the idea.
Los migrants They are also frustrated. Gilberto Pozo Ortiz, a 45-year-old Cuban, has been living for three months, at the expense of public money, in a hotel in the state of NY. He claims that his work permit He doesn’t seem forthcoming as social workers guide him through a complex asylum application system.
“I don’t want to depend on anyone,” said Ortiz. “I want to work.”
In Chicago, where 13,000 have settled in the last year migrantsMayor Brandon Johnson and Illinois Governor JB Pritzker wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to ask for an exemption for asylum seekers which, they claim, would allow them to avoid the wait for the permit.
The governor of MassachusettsMaura Healey, who declared a state of emergency in the region due to the arrival of migrantswrote to Mayorkas indicating that the work permits They represent “an opportunity to meet the demand for workers, support our economy and reduce dependence on newcomers.” And 19 state attorneys general democrats They also contacted the official to indicate that these authorizations would reduce the pressure on governments to provide social services.
He federal government has done “virtually nothing” to help cities, said Alderman Andre Vasquez, president of the Chicago City Council’s Commission on Migrant and Refugee Rights.
Meanwhile, the migrants that they can’t work permits have crowded the hostels for homeless people in several cities.
Currently, more than 60,000 migrants depend on the City of NY for her accommodation, which has forced her to rent rooms in hotels, place cots in recreational centers and set up tent camps, all at the expense of the government. The municipal executive estimates that the accommodation and care for the migrants could cost the city 12 billion dollars in three years.
“This matter will destroy the City of NY”Adams said at a community event this month. “We are not getting any support in this national crisis.”
The defenders of migrants have objected to the apocalyptic terms used by Adams, pointing out that he exaggerates the possible impact of newcomers in a city with almost 8.8 million inhabitants.
Los republicans have taken advantage of the discord to put the democrats on the defensive ahead of next year’s presidential elections.
Muzaffar Chishti, a lawyer and member of the Migration Policy Institute, said calls to speed up work permits They have more to do with political optics than with practical solutions.
“They don’t want to tell the electorate that there is nothing they can do. No politician wants to say that. So they have become a kind of repetitive wheel saying ‘Give us work permits‘”, he claimed. “Saying it is much easier than doing it. But it’s a good phrase.”
One measure that most agree would be helpful is to provide legal help to migrants to apply for asylum and work permitsalthough it has already been shown that this is also a challenge.
Nationally, only about 16% of migrants of working age registered in the application of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have requested authorization to work, according to the White House. Since the introduction of the CBP One app in January through the end of July, nearly 200,000 migrants Those seeking asylum have made an appointment through it to enter the country through the land border crossings with Mexico.
Federal authorities have recently sent email and text message notifications to remind those without citizenship that they can apply for it. City Officials NY They have also started surveying asylum seekers to determine if they meet the requirements.
Another option would be to expand the number of countries whose citizens can benefit from the Temporary Protected Status in United States. This designation is granted to sites affected by armed conflict or natural disasters.
But the White House might be reluctant to take measures that could be interpreted as an incentive for the arrival of migrants.
Los arrests for illegal crossings from Mexico surpassed 177,000 in August, according to a U.S. official who was not authorized to discuss figures that have not yet been released, nearly 80% more than in June. Many are free in the United States to request asylum before an immigration court, while another 1,450 can enter US soil each day through CBP One.
Many have ended up in submerged economy.
Elden Roja, who has had odd jobs in landscaping, among other positions, for about $15 an hour, lives with his wife, his children, ages 15 and 6, and about 50 other people in the lobby of a Chicago police station. . When a Venezuelan co-worker honked the horn of the car he had bought, Roja laughed and said he would have one soon.
Although bureaucratic obstacles can be considerable, many migrants They manage to overcome the process.
José Vacca, also Venezuelan, traveled with two cousins from Colombia, leaving their families behind to undertake a mainly travel walking. Once in Texas, they gave free bus tickets to NY.
There, the 22-year-old found a job for which he received an undeclared $15 an hour. When he obtained the work permit temporary, his boss paid him a dollar more per hour.
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