The Trump administration is proposing a new rule which would make it harder for asylum seekers to get work permits, further discouraging refugees from coming to the U.S.
People in the U.S. who have filed for asylum can apply for work authorization after that application has been pending for 150 days. Under current regulations, they are eligible to receive the work permit in the next 30 days.
The proposed rule would get rid of the 30-day deadline, said Julia Gelatt, senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute.
"There is nothing on the proposed rule that would hold them accountable to give asylum seekers work permits in a timely manner," Gelatt said.
This is just another attempt for the administration to restrict immigrants, said Eleanor Acer, director of nonprofit Human Rights First. The delay in issuing work permits to asylum seekers will cause devastating results such as forcing them to live in unsafe areas and relying on relatives for financial support, she said.
Ken Cuccinelli, the agency's acting director, who gained a reputation as an immigration czar for the Trump administration, said the proposal will allow more time to screen applicants for national security.
"Our first priority as an agency is to safeguard the integrity of our nation's legal immigration system from those who seek to exploit or abuse it," he said in a press release. "This proposal allows us to conduct the kind of systematic vetting and identity verification procedures expected of an agency charged with protecting national security."
Acer said the rule is just creating another unnecessary "hurdle" to asylum seekers in the country.
"This is yet another attempt to punish refugee protection in this country," she said. "Nothing in this administration has done has made anything efficient in the asylum-seeking process."