NEW YORK, CMC – New York City Mayor Eric Adams has announced what he described as “an expedited sprint” to identify Caribbean and other asylum seekers in the city’s care who are currently eligible to apply for work authorisation.
Most asylum seekers entering New York City from southern border states are nationals of Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
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The city has begun conducting in-depth, in-person surveys with the nearly 40,000 asylum seekers over the age of 18 years in its care to identify individuals who are eligible to apply for work authorisation.
Adams said, to date, the city had assessed over 10,000 adult asylum seekers and will continue this effort over the coming weeks.
“For months, New York City has spoken with one voice, urging the federal government to put asylum seekers on the path to independence and ‘Let Them Work,’” said Adams.
“As Washington continues to leave New York City and other cities across the nation to manage this national humanitarian crisis largely on its own, we continue to fill the leadership void left by our federal partners by providing migrants with a place to stay and a range of services, utilising a unique model to help thousands of arrivals apply for asylum.
“But our message remains loud and clear: New York City needs significant and timely support from our state and federal partners to tackle this national issue,” he added.
In some instances, Adams said migrants who are admitted into the US by federal authorities are given parole, which is a form of temporary permission to enter and remain in the United States.
He said parole may be granted for relatively short periods, sometimes just a few months, or longer periods, up to two years or more.
“While an immigrant is on active parole, they can apply for work authorisation immediately and, if granted, they can work legally during that period. For example, if someone is given eight weeks of parole upon entering the country, they can apply for work authorisation on day one of entering.
“If work authorisation is granted during their seventh week of parole, they would then be able to work just for their final (eighth) week. To continue to work legally, they would need to apply for asylum and then wait for the federally mandated 150-day waiting period to apply for new work authorisation.”
He said New York City continues to urge the federal government to address the issuance and extension of parole periods, “so migrants can get to work right away.
“Federal immigration authorities have the authority to grant parole more consistently and for longer periods of time at the border, and to extend expired or soon-to-be-expiring parole grants, which would allow migrants to apply for work authorisation and obtain work legally immediately rather than waiting for many months,” Adams said.
He said New York City is also calling for the US Department of Homeland Security to designate or re-designate Temporary Protected Status for immigrants from 11 countries, including Haiti.
“Without these surely needed changes to facilitate immigrants to gain work authorisation and become self-sufficient, the city expects the number of people currently eligible to apply for work authorisation to be a relatively small percentage of those now in care,” the mayor said.
He said by conducting a comprehensive survey, New York City will be able to support those currently eligible for work authorisation and help as many migrants as possible, who have yet to apply for asylum, to submit their asylum applications at the city-run Asylum Application Help Center.