On March 28, 2023, over 50 mayors and city governments sent a letter to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). They asked USCIS to make it faster and easier for asylum seekers to get a work permit, and shared other specific ideas from ASAP members. The mayors who signed the letter represent many large cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, North Miami, and Austin!
ASAP worked on this letter in response to ASAP members’ number one priority – to speed up processing for work permits and the asylum system.
As one ASAP member from Nigeria explained: “I would like to shorten or eliminate the wait completely for asylum seekers to be able to apply for work authorization. It is an extreme hardship to have to wait years for the asylum process to be completed and not be able to obtain work authorization.”
ASAP staff collected many ideas from members about how to improve the work permit system and shared those ideas anonymously with the mayors. The mayors agreed with ASAP members that USCIS should process work permits more quickly and that work permits should be valid for a longer time!
In the letter, the mayors said: “Our communities have asylum seekers that want to work to support themselves and their families, and at the same time, the employers in our city face a historic labor shortage. Our cities and municipalities feel these unnecessary delays.”
You can read the full letter and all of the recommendations here.
We are excited that so many mayors and city governments are following the lead of ASAP members! It is important that the government knows that mayors across the United States agree with ASAP members and believe that asylum seekers should get work permits faster. We hope this letter will push USCIS to make it faster and easier for asylum seekers to get a work permit.
- You can watch a NBC news report on the mayors who are advocating for faster work permits here. (This video is in English.)
- If your work permit is delayed, you can read more about what you can do at this ASAP page.