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Mayors Urge Extension of Work Permits

Dozens of U.S. mayors are urging the Biden administration to extend work permits for migrants to ensure that businesses nationwide continue to operate smoothly, UPI reports.

What’s going on: “Cities and counties have made it clear that asylum seekers and immigrants need work permits, and we are frustrated that our communities’ immigrants may soon lose their work authorization due to processing delays and the federal government’s inaction,” reads a letter sent Monday by 43 mayors to the Department of Homeland Security and its U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

  • The letter—whose signatories include New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson—asks DHS and USCIS to automatically extend work authorizations for at least 540 days.
  • A previous extension of a temporary 540-day “grace period for which work permits remain valid” (while workers’ visa or asylum statuses are being considered for renewal) expired at the end of last October, and the grace period is now back to 180 days.  

Why it’s important: “Without this, hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers will lose their work authorization, businesses will lose staff and our cities and counties will face an increasing challenge to provide shelter to the public,” the letter continues.

  • As of last June, there were approximately 263,000 Employment Authorization Document renewal applications pending, according to the letter, meaning that without an extension, “hundreds of thousands of immigrants may lose their ability to work in the coming months.”

The NAM’s view: The call for work permits shines a spotlight on the need for broader immigration reform, the NAM said.

  • “The NAM is committed to working with both chambers of Congress and the administration to enact meaningful and comprehensive change on the critical issues of immigration and border security,” said NAM Senior Director of Technology Policy Franck Journoud.
  • “While we pursue broader reforms, we must seize every opportunity to improve the functioning of the immigration system as it exists.”
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