The Trump administration is proposing a new rule that, if implemented, would make asylum seekers ineligible for work permits if they entered the U.S. illegally. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the federal agency tasked with managing the country’s immigration system, is introducing new employment rulesfor migrants. Namely, the agency is aiming to bar work permits for asylum applicants who crossed the border illegally, and also applicants who have committed a felony or a number of misdemeanors, including driving under the influence.

I don’t get this. My husband never entered the US illegally. But he was barred from working in the US for two years while he was a completely legal resident. And now it turns out that even illegal immigrants are allowed to work? My husband’s situation was under Obama and he was threatened with deportation. When did this all change? Why is there suddenly even a discussion about work permits for criminal immigrants?

This immigration system is beyond ridiculous.

11 thoughts on “Confusion”

  1. This is the current regulation according to the USCIS website

    “You cannot apply for permission to work (employment authorization) in the United States at the same time you apply for asylum.

    You may apply for employment authorization if:

    150 days have passed since you filed your complete asylum application, excluding any delays caused by you (such as a request to reschedule your interview) AND
    No decision has been made on your application”


  2. If you’re undocumented, you cannot work legally.

    It’s legal, not illegal, to apply for asylum at the border. Applying for employment authorization is different from applying for asylum.

    Having entered illegally and then applying for asylum is another kettle of fish, more difficult. And no, you’re not authorized to work if you’re not documented and authorized to work.

    People DO work, but it’s for cash / off the books / otherwise disguised, and they are not supposed to do it. Your husband could have done this as well; it wouldn’t have been legal, though since it isn’t legal.


      1. Basically, yes, although there’s the question of where/when you can apply for work authorization while waiting through the different steps of an asylum claim.

        It doesn’t help that people have gone from saying undocumented to illegal to criminal, and that they don’t understand the difference between an asylum claim (those are documented and allowed by law) and undocumented or unauthorized presence in the country; there are also asylum seekers who did not give themselves up to ICE at the border but who entered the country and then sought asylum.

        An example is my hairdresser’s now husband, who is from Kazan where he was persecuted because of being gay. He entered the US as a tourist and then filed an asylum claim. He had to work under the table until he could apply for employment authorization. Somewhere along the line he met my hairdresser, and I don’t know exactly at which point his employment authorization came through but it made it possible for him to get a different kind of job. Eventually asylum was granted but the authorization of gay marriage had something to do with that — although there were a lot of hearings about dangers of being gay in Kazan involved. In any case, what this document is doing is basically adjusting some rules and timelines.

        Again: it has been possible, while awaiting an asylum hearing, to apply for work authorization after a certain period of time had passed, and if authorized, to begin work before the final asylum hearing. That’s not “giving work permits to criminal invaders” or anything like that.


        1. The point I’m making is that, rhetoric aside, the Trump administration seems hell-bent on creating more illegal immigrants and not normalizing the situation with immigration, which could be quite easily done. Trump makes empty, ridiculous proclamations to appeal to the more stupid parts of his base while acting in the most neoliberal manner possible.

          Not that there’s anybody who is proposing anything better.


      2. If this article is correct, it is all completely unneccesary:The Trump administration accepted zero refugees in October
        You should be ecstatic, Clarissa!
        With the Trump administration continuing to attack immigrants, it’s becoming even more difficult for refugees to enter the country. A new CNN report has revealed that the Trump administration hasn’t resettled any refugees in the month of October. Despite already going through a lengthy screening process, refugees who had been admitted to the U.S. and were expecting to begin the resettlement process subsequently had their arrival flights cancelled.

        This isn’t the first time that the Trump administration has delayed refugee admissions. First, travel was postponed through Oct. 21, and then again to Oct. 28. This latest delay resulted in the cancellation of 500 flights — and a big part of the problem is that these delays have significant costs.

        Not only are the flights cancelled by the administration funded by taxpayers — meaning that the repeated cancelling and rebooking eats up more taxpayer dollars — but the consistent change also leaves refugees in a state of uncertainty. It’s unclear when exactly the administration plans to reschedule those 500 cancelled flights, but a State Department spokesperson said the pause on admissions runs through Nov. 5….


        1. Why should I be ecstatic? Is this some kind of sarcasm that I’m not getting?

          The refugees described in this quote followed exactly the kind of procedure I support. Why should I be happy that the system I support is not being put in place privileging the system I don’t support?


  3. Inconsistencies of any kind are unnerving, as there are never cut-and-dried standards or protocols one can use as a baseline for navigating one’s decisions or actions.
    You can “dot all your ‘I’s” and “cross all your ‘T’s” and still wind up being shown up in some way.


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