In a memorandum to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Justice Department (DOJ), the Trump Administration directed DHS to issue regulations within 90 days that are designed to deny work permits for any immigrants entering the country unlawfully and to begin charging a fee to apply for asylum. Historically, the U.S. never has charged a fee to apply for asylum. The White House justified these directives based on a recent increase in the number of Central Americans arriving at the southern border to apply for asylum.
According to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) that governs the making of rules and regulations for federal government agencies, DHS and DOJ must confine their rulemaking to existing statutory authority in the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), which is the federal immigration law. As a result, these agencies must solicit input from stakeholders through a “Notice and Comment” period before any rules can become final. Due to these procedures, any person or entity who wants to challenge the regulations must wait until they have become final under the APA to seek review of them in court.
Prohibiting work permits and charging fees to apply for asylum is likely to harm those immigrants who genuinely are seeking asylum. Currently, asylum seekers can seek issuance of a work permit 180 days after applying for asylum. The 180-day waiting period is intended to curb frivolous asylum claims that might increase if work permits were available immediately, while at the same time recognizing that asylum seekers need to support themselves and their families while waiting for their asylum hearings, a process that can take as long as three years.
However, the proposed regulations to deny work permits to anyone who entered the country other than by appearing at a port of entry can place an arbitrary bar to some individuals seeking asylum. In some cases, exigent circumstances may leave immigrants no choice but to enter the country at somewhere other than a port of entry. Although the regulations might deter some frivolous claims, it also could very well deter some meritorious claims. An experienced Texas immigration attorney can help you with all aspects of immigration law. We are here to evaluate the facts surrounding your case, present your options, and help you make the decisions that will be most beneficial to you, based on your circumstances. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 399-2311 today and see how we can help.