Council Member Gale Brewer Calls on USCIS for Faster Application for Employment Authorization Processing Times

Council Member Gale Brewer Calls on USCIS for Faster Application for Employment Authorization Processing Times

As of September 8, 2022, New York City has received over 9,800 individuals seeking asylum. Today, Council Member Gale A. Brewer introduced Resolution 0307-2022 calling on United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to process I-765 Employment Authorization Documents within 30 days and quickly clear the backlog of applications.

With Speaker Adrienne E. Adams and Committee on Immigration Chair Shahana Hanif (D-39), Council Member Brewer is circulating a sign-on letter to Council colleagues addressed to Senator Chuck Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and the New York City Congressional Delegation asking for their support in implementing a policy change that would enable USCIS to adopt the former rule that required 30-day review of applications or allocate resources enabling faster processing times. The letter will be sent Friday, September 16.

On August 25, Council Member Brewer wrote to USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou requesting the USCIS re-implement a 30-day processing rule.

Pursuant to federal law, pending asylum applicants must file an application for employment authorization in order to attain any form of legal employment. For more than 20 years it was standard process for USCIS to process applications from asylum seekers within 30 days. On August 21, 2020, USCIS implemented a rule that removed that 30-day processing requirement. Local nonprofit providers and community-based organizations are reporting processing times of 6-12 months for these applications.

“New York City has always been a sanctuary for those seeking refuge. People seeking asylum have arrived at the border of the United States from Central and South America, many of whom are families with children, and they ought to be welcomed and supported through that process. The government must make policy adjustments that respond to this situation with urgency, like returning to a 30-day review previews for applications for employment authorization. I thank the Mayor’s office and the New York Immigration Coalition for their steadfast support of the families and individuals coming to our city in buses; I have been at the Port Authority bus station to see the warm response. We need the same support from the federal government,” said Council Member Gale A. Brewer (D-06).

“To date, New York City has seen almost 10,000 asylum seekers enter our City. While some are only here as a stopover to a final destination, there are thousands with nowhere else to go who need assistance laying down roots,” said Immigration Committee Chair Shahana Hanif (D-39). “I’m proud to stand with Speaker Adams and Council Member Brewer to call on the Senate to expedite the processing times for applications for employment authorization. This authorization is key to helping these asylum seekers find footing in our City and will prevent them from falling through the cracks of our social safety net. There are jobs that need to be filled and people who need economic opportunity to start a life in our City. Let’s get it done.”

On Wednesday, August 17, Council Member Gale Brewer greeted nearly 140 asylum seekers arriving at the Port Authority Bus Station.

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