The Department of Homeland Security says it will launch a “national campaign” to help work-eligible migrants get employment authorization, just as Democratic politicians are pushing for the administration to expand work permits to migrants.
DHS had sent a team of experts to assess the migrant operations in New York City, where officials have declared services to be overwhelmed by the approximately 100,000 migrants who have come to the “sanctuary” city since last year. The DHS team recommended improvements to migrant processes and additional locations where migrants could be housed.
The agency confirmed to Fox that is now launching a “first-of-its-kind national campaign for noncitizens who are work-eligible but have not yet applied for employment authorization.”
“DHS looks forward to continuing these efforts with state and local officials, in coordination with our federal partners, to address, in a humane and orderly manner, the needs of migrants who have arrived in New York and other cities across the country,” a spokesperson said.
Migrants who enter the U.S. illegally are typically not allowed to work. However, if they make an application for asylum, then they eventually become eligible to work after a number of months. Migrants who are paroled into the U.S. — such as via the CBP One app at a port of entry — may also apply for a work permit for the duration of their parole.
However, illegal immigrants who have not made an asylum claim or have not had the waiting period expire may not work, which has become a focal point for state politicians who are being overwhelmed by the numbers they are facing, despite them being only a fraction of those encountered at the southern border.
Officials in New York, including Gov. Kathy Hochul and NYC Mayor Eric Adams, have criticized the administration for not doing enough to help them with their migrant challenges. They have demanded a federal emergency declaration and have called on the administration to do more to get work authorization for the tens of thousands of migrants in the city.
“We need people to have the right to work, which is an American tradition. We need an emergency declaration. We need locations to deal with the overflow right now, and we need funding. And so when you look at an analysis that was given, it answered none of those prevention . . . this is the intervention, what you saw. How do we stop this flow?” Adams said at a recent news conference.
While it’s not clear what the DHS national campaign will involve, Hochul told local media that DHS staffers were going to make themselves available “to allow us to start processing thousands of people so they can apply [for] asylum legally.”
“That’s one way of dealing with it, is letting them work, which has been my call to action,” Hochul told Spectrum News.
CBS News reported that the agency will also send emails and texts to migrants who have been paroled into the U.S. via the CBP One App and another parole program for certain nationalities, or who have pending asylum claims reminding them to apply for a work permit.
Similar calls have been made for work authorization from other Democrats, including Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey, where she also declared a state of emergency last month.
Meanwhile, there are few signs that the chaos at the southern border, which has been in crisis for over two years, will be ending any time soon. Migrant numbers increased to approximately 180,000 encounters in July from a brief dip in June. Fox has reported how Border Patrol sectors have been nearing or above capacity. The Washington Post reported on Friday that initial figures for August numbers show that there were over 230,000 encounters.
The Biden administration has called for Congress to provide billions in additional funding to help with border management, while urging a comprehensive immigration reform plan that includes a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants.
Republicans have instead passed a border security bill of their own, while calling for increased security measures and for the restoration of Trump-era policies rolled back by the Biden administration — reversals that they say incited the crisis in the first place.
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