NYC mayor urges Biden administration to help asylum seekers get work authorization

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Wednesday, April 19, 2023
NYC urges Biden to help asylum seekers get work authorization
NYC officials are asking the Biden administration to help expedite work authorization for asylum seekers.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Mayor Eric Adams is calling on the federal government to take action to help with the growing asylum seeker crisis.

Adams and elected officials urged the Biden administration Wednesday to immediately enhance paths to work authorization for migrants currently in the United States.

Asylum seekers who have been processed by DHS and are granted humanitarian parole typically have to wait at least six months to gain work authorization, increasing their reliance on cities for resources when they first arrive. Work authorization through Temporary Protected Status (TPS) can also take several months.

The mayor is calling on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to re-designate TPS for migrants coming from Venezuela, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Sudan, South Sudan, and Cameroon, to expand access to humanitarian parole for newly arriving asylum seekers and asylum seekers already in the United States.

They are also requesting more U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers to reduce application processing times.

According to the mayor, over 53,000 migrants have entered the city's shelter system over the past year with more than 34,000 asylum seekers currently residing in the emergency shelters the city has activated.

"When I go there and visit them, there's only one thing they ask for," Adams said. "They don't want shelter. They don't want free food. They don't want free clothing," the mayor said of asylum seekers. "They say...can we work?"

Roughly 200 asylum seekers enter NYC each day, and officials expect that number to grow following the lifting of Title 42 on May 11.

Title 42 is the public health policy that has been used over 2.8 million times to rapidly expel migrants and prevent them from applying for asylum.

"Title 42 is getting ready to be released. What do you think is going to happen? Thousands of people are waiting to come across the border and potentially end up in New York City," the mayor said, echoing concerns Republican leaders like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott have repeatedly voiced about ending the policy.

Adams has previously voiced his frustration with the administration for not providing federal resources to help New York City deal with the influx of migrants. On Wednesday he offered one of his strongest rebukes against President Biden.

"The President and the White House has failed New York City on this issue," he said. "Our national government has abandoned this city and the actions or inaction...undermine our entire city. Everything we fought for is in jeopardy if we don't get this right."

(ABC News contributed to this report.)

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