Asylum seekers in NYC facing roadblocks in getting permits to work

More than 21,000 asylum seekers have arrived in New York City, creating a log jam in the nation’s biggest sanctuary city.

But now one of the bigger problems the migrants are facing is the issue of getting permits to work.

The process of applying for asylum so migrants can work in the U.S. legally is daunting and can actually keep them from earning a paycheck for more than a year.

Those who want desperately to work legally are running into roadblocks, lining up at Federal Plaza in the morning to take the first step — get an appointment to check in with ICE, which creates a record of their case with immigration court.

“Those waiting periods to get into the building are very long,” said attorney Lauren Wyatt with Catholic Charities. “A lot of times people are not getting scheduled for their first ice check in until 2024. This is a problem because if you want to apply for asylum, you need to do that within one year.”

While they stay at shelters that offer some help like the Row NYC or Randall’s Island, waiting if they have nowhere else to go, Wyatt says they can’t file for asylum until the court has a record of their case.

“So people are really in a catch 22 confusing situation where there’s nowhere they can apply for asylum, they won’t be able to do it until after their deadline and in the meantime they can’t work lawfully,” Wyatt said.

Little Africa News September 29 – October 3 Edition

An association that represents 15,000 bodegas announced they are hiring – if the Biden administration will let them do so legally.

“We are opening our doors for those migrants that are coming here desperately seeking work and seeking opportunity,” said Fernando Mateo of United Bodegas of America. “We’re not going to turn our backs on them. Of course, we must follow the law.”

There’s a 150 day waiting period for work permits after an asylum application is filed. The mayor today said that’s where he’s asking for help from Washington again.

“We’re hoping the federal government does the same thing that we did during the Ukrainian war of allowing individuals who are here to work who want to work,” Adams said.

Source: ABC News. Click here for the full story


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