Arizona's Mayes, other AGs say processing delays are blocking immigrant work visas

Published: Thursday, August 31, 2023 - 12:32pm

A group of 19 attorneys general around the country are asking the Biden administration to fast-track work authorization for newly arrived immigrants in their states.

That list includes Arizona’s Kris Mayes. In a letter to Homeland Security, the group of mostly Democrats say the vast majority of newly arrived immigrants are looking for work – and businesses are in need of more workers.

Many migrants and asylum seekers here today have a temporary status called humanitarian parole. The status allows them to apply for a work permit right away. But the attorneys general say that’s made impossible because of roadblocks like application processing delays. 

As a result, they say some parolees are waiting more than 10 months to get work permits. Others have lost jobs because their old permits expired before their new one was done processing.

They say the federal government should fix those problems by allowing people to apply for permits earlier and providing a pathway to automatic renewal.

Lawmakers introduced a bill to fast-track asylum seeker work authorization earlier this year, but it’s now stalled in Congress.

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