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US proposes tougher rules on work permits for asylum-seekers

The new rule aims to discourage immigrants who don’t qualify for asylum from seeking it in a backlogged immigration system.
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
The White House in Washington, in this Tuesday, Nov. 18,2008 file photo.

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has proposed to make it tougher for asylum-seekers to obtain permission to work in the United States while their immigration cases are pending.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said Wednesday that a proposed rule would double the time asylum-seekers must wait for a work permit to a year and bar those who crossed a border illegally from applying for the permits at all.

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The new rule aims to discourage immigrants who don’t qualify for asylum from seeking it in a backlogged immigration system with hundreds of thousands of pending asylum applications, the agency said.

The goal is “to restore integrity to the asylum system and lessen the incentive to file an asylum application for the primary purpose of obtaining work authorization,” Ken Cuccinelli, the agency’s acting director, said in a statement.

The proposal is the latest in a series of measures by the Trump administration aimed at deterring immigrants from seeking asylum along the U.S.-Mexico border and in limiting immigration to the United States.

The public can comment on the proposed rule until Jan. 13.