Coalition argues new rules would limit job opportunities for asylum seekers, harm state economies

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New York State Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a news conference at her office in New York, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. New York has joined the ranks of states suing the nation’s biggest e-cigarette maker, San Francisco based JUUL Labs. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (WWTI) – New York Attorney General Letitia James co-led a coalition of 20 state attorneys general and 10 major cities and counties from around the nation in challenging the Trump Administration’s efforts to limit access to employment authorization for asylum seekers.

Under two new rules, individuals seeking asylum in the United States would be indefinitely delayed and barred in some cases from obtaining authorization to work.

“The Trump Administration is once again creating arbitrary and unlawful hurdles for immigrants trying to build a life for themselves here in America,” Attorney General James said. “By making it more difficult for immigrants to start to work, the president is not only hurting asylum seekers and their families, but economically disadvantaging states across the country. These policies are morally and economically dangerous, and we will not allow them to stand.”

The first new Trump Administration rule will require asylum seekers to wait a year before applying for employment authorization and bar many from obtaining authorization at all. The second rule will eliminate the longstanding requirement that employment authorization applications be processed within 30 days.

The coalition argues that by prohibiting asylum seekers from working for extended periods, or at all, the new rules will significantly lower the tax revenue that states and localities receive as a result of asylum seekers’ economic activity.

The coalition also argues that the inability of asylum seekers to access employer-sponsored health care will lead to increased health and welfare costs shouldered by the states.

Joining Attorneys General James and Racine in filing the brief are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington; as well as the cities of Albuquerque, NM, Chicago, IL, Los Angeles, CA, Madison, WI, Minneapolis, MN, New York, NY, Oakland, CA, and Seattle, WA; and both Cook County in Illinois and Howard County in Maryland.

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