Work permits would also be denied to asylum-seekers who have been convicted in the U.S. of any felonies or certain types of other public safety offenses, such as driving under the influence and domestic violence.
The move would harm at least 15,000 asylum-seekers in California each year and drive many of them to look for work in the underground economy, according to Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
“Today, we’re calling on the federal government to rescind this latest proposed attack on the asylum process,” Becerra said in a statement Monday announcing that he and 23 other state attorneys general had filed a letter of opposition. “The Trump administration ... continues to introduce arbitrary hoops and hurdles that prevent people fleeing violence and persecution from being able to provide for themselves or their families.”
Asylum applicants waited an average of nearly three years for immigration courts to decide their cases, according to a recent report by researchers at Syracuse University.
Department of Homeland Security officials say the plan aims to deter migrants from entering the country unlawfully. In a November statement announcing the proposal, officials with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said the rule would discourage people from filing “frivolous, fraudulent or otherwise non-meritorious asylum applications in order to obtain employment authorization.”
“Illegal aliens are gaming our asylum system for economic opportunity, which undermines the integrity of our immigration system and delays relief for legitimate asylum seekers in need of humanitarian protection,” said USCIS acting Director Ken Cuccinelli in the statement.