As America faces elevated unemployment in the wake of extended coronavirus-related economic shutdowns, President Donald Trump is taking action that would prevent certain asylum seekers from obtaining a work permit.
According to Breitbart, the Trump administration is closing a loophole that allowed immigrants in the asylum process to be granted a work permit even if they had not yet filed a formal claim or had their claim properly adjudicated.
The law reportedly allowed some individuals to secure a permit even with criminal convictions on their record.
“Closing a tremendous number of loopholes”
Acting U.S. Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said that the loophole accounts for about 50,000 work permits granted each year, meaning such individuals would effectively be competing with Americans as tens of millions remain unemployed.
DHS officials are reportedly prepared to issue a new regulation specifically restricting the issuance of work permits to immigrants whose asylum claims have been fully adjudicated and approved.
Cuccinelli said that the new regulations would eliminate “the incentive to file asylum applications for the purpose of getting a work permit,” indicating that the department is focused on an array of related issues.
“We’re closing a tremendous number of loopholes in that system,” he said.
A White House fact sheet posted on Monday hinted at those new regulations, asserting that Trump would be placing the interests of American workers above asylum seekers during this time of crisis.
“Eliminate the incentive”
“The Trump Administration has also finalized regulations to eliminate the incentive to file an asylum application for the primary purpose of obtaining an Employment Authorization Document,” the document stated.
Trump also announced his decision to extend an executive order initially issued in April that significantly limited the number of foreign workers allowed into the country on various work visas — at least until the end of this year — in order to prioritize unemployed Americans as the economy gradually reopens.
That proclamation came on Monday and, barring a few exceptions for essential sectors of the economy, suspended most temporary work visas.
While the idea of rolling back immigration restrictions is often popular among leftist pundits and politicians, the Trump administration has made clear its belief that action is needed. For many Americans currently anxious to re-enter the workforce, this is a decision that is likely to resonate.