Gov. Hochul calls for expedited working permits for migrants

Karin Anderson Ponzer, the director of Neighbors Links Community law, says the migrants could benefit from a tight labor market.

News 12 Staff

May 17, 2023, 12:40 AM

Updated 375 days ago

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Gov. Kathy Hochul is calling on the federal government to expedite working permits for migrants entering New York.
Juan Galicia knows the difficulties firsthand after he came to America with his parents from Mexico 30 years ago. Now, he manages Margaritas Restaurant & Lounge in southwest Yonkers.
"There are a lot of Mexicans who came a long time ago. They were born and raised in Yonkers so now it's easy for people to hire because now they have papers, he says.
But that doesn't help those who are just arriving. Karin Anderson Ponzer, the director of community law for Neighbors Link, says there are “substantial obstacles for asylum seekers who come to the United States.”
She says it can take more than a year for migrants to get approved to work legally in the U.S.
First, they must apply for asylum and then wait 150 days to become eligible to apply for a work permit which must be approved and processed. Migrants without these papers are more likely to rely on the unregulated job market, become exploited by their employers, and hamper business owners who are short-staffed but need the proper documentation.
"Making work permits accessible more quickly would be transformative," said Ponzer.
Hochul, Mayor Eric Adams, and the New York congressional delegation have been calling for a reduction in the waiting period to 30 days – but the federal government has not yet acted upon those requests.


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