The Trump administration proposed a regulation on Wednesday, Nov. 13, that if enforced, would bar asylum-seekers who entered the United States illegally from applying for a work permit.
Under the proposal, asylum-seekers who have been convicted of a felony or arrested for certain crimes or miss related immigration appointments would also be denied work permits.
In September, the administration raised a proposal to eliminate a 30-day deadline for processing work permit requests by asylum-seekers, which could slow down the timeline to approve or deny an asylum application, according to Reuters.
Last week, the administration issued a proposed rule that would make asylum-seekers pay a $50 fee for certain asylum applications—the first time the United States has charged for such requests.
Moreover, asylum-seekers must wait 180 days from the date of submitting an application for protection before they can receive a work permit. The rule proposed Wednesday calls for a 365-day waiting period from the date an asylum application is received.
These new regulations could also delay the time it takes for asylum-seekers who have already qualified for a work permit to receive one, which could be anywhere from 150 days to an entire year, Buzzfeed News reported.
“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,” acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement. “These proposed reforms are designed to restore integrity to the asylum system and lessen the incentive to file an asylum application for the primary purpose of obtaining work authorization.”
Immigration lawyers and former immigration judges who opposed to the plan have been arguing that clerical errors and lack of notice are common concerns in the immigration system.
“These changes would leave more asylum-seekers dependent, vulnerable to exploitation, and in the shadows, which is exactly where the regime wants them,” Tennessee-based immigration lawyer Andrew Free told BuzzFeed.
The proposed rule will be subjected to a 60-day public comment period after publishing in the Federal Register on Thursday, Nov. 14.