The current presidential administration has proposed a number of new immigration rules. The most recent of these proposals is a rule change that would restrict the ability of asylum-seekers to gain work permits. Officials reportedly believe that some people’s reason for seeking asylum is purely economic and apparently feel that the rule change would work as a deterrent. 

The rule change would affect the largest group of asylum-seekers in the United States, i.e., those who cross the border between the U.S. and Mexico without documentation. However, it appears that the rule change could also apply retroactively to asylum-seekers already in the U.S. This would mean that those who do not fit the new guidelines could see the government reject their requests for work permit renewal. As a result, they could lose their jobs. 

The acting director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services claims that the rule change is necessary to preserve the integrity of the system and protect legitimate asylum-seekers from delays caused by those allegedly seeking to exploit the system for economic gain. However, a representative of the American Immigration Council asserts that the rule change could force tens of thousands of people out of work for five or six years because of long delays in asylum processing. 

The public will have the opportunity to make comments on the proposal for 30 days following its publication in the National Register. Following that review period, the USCIS will publish the final rule, which may or may not include changes based on public comments. Those with questions about asylum may wish to contact an attorney for more information.