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HomeNewsClashing Currents: New and Older Immigrants Vie for Limited Work Permits

Clashing Currents: New and Older Immigrants Vie for Limited Work Permits

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From coast to coast, mayors and governors in America are becoming vocal champions for recently arrived migrants seeking shelter and work permits.

An illustration of U.S. migration
Source: Marcos Silva/istockphotos

However, these advocacy efforts and current rules are exposing difficulties among long-term immigrants. Those who have not received the same privileges, particularly work permits. Furthermore, some newcomers perceive a need for more friendliness from established immigrants.

Thousands of immigrants marched through Washington this month, pressing President Biden to extend work authorization to long-term residents. Their placards included things like “Work permits for all!” and “I’ve been waiting 34 years for a permit.”

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ALSO READ: Migrants are Starting to Ditch the American Dream for a Home Return

Despite a minor slowdown in May due to new asylum rules, the number of arrests for illegal border crossings from Mexico surpassed 2 million. This is for the second year in a row, with the fiscal year ending on September 30. 

Furthermore, hundreds of thousands of migrants have been lawfully allowed into the country in the last year. This is as a result of new laws aimed at discouraging unlawful crossings.

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Despite processing 80% of applicants in less than a month and a half, asylum seekers still have to wait six months for a work permit. This is according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

On the other hand, those who use the Biden administration’s new legal avenues are not required to wait. Through a temporary legal status known as parole, 270,000 people from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela entered.

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However, by applying online with a financial sponsor through October. An additional 324,000 people used the CBP One smartphone app to schedule appointments to enter at a land border crossing with Mexico.

The White House is asking Congress for $1.4 billion to give food, shelter, and other services to new arrivals. The mayors of New York, Denver, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Houston demanded $5 billion in a letter to President Biden last month. They noted that the inflow had taxed budgets and forced cuts in key services.

The mayors are calling not only for temporary status and work permits for new immigrants but also for persons who have been in the United States for a lengthy period. 

ALSO READ: Asylum Seekers’ Train Defies Warnings Against Illegal Crossings

Many newcomers face challenges in reconnecting with family, encountering blocked calls and unanswered texts. The mayors stress a broader perspective on immigration concerns.

A 45-year-old Mexican woman, residing in the US for 25 years with three children born here, expresses dissatisfaction. She questions the fairness of new arrivals having work permits while she does not.

Earning $150 a week picking sweet potatoes in Homestead, she highlights the humanitarian aspect of prioritizing new arrivals. She expresses concerns about the treatment of individuals who, like herself, have been in the country for an extended period. Due to deportation fears, she chooses to be known only by her last name, Hernandez, to safeguard her identity.

“At this moment, it is a system that has strained our city and brings conflict between neighbors,” remarked Lawrence Benito, during a rally last month. He is the head of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

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