The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued new policy guidelines today that toughen the path to work permits for immigrants "paroled" into the United States. Parole is a type of immigration relief available to people outside the U.S. who have been deemed inadmissible or lack a valid visa. Under the program, foreigners can enter the country on a temporary basis for humanitarian reasons or because their entry provides a significant public benefit.
The latest guidance asserts that USCIS retains the discretion to grant or deny work authorization for parolees. In addition, the guidance outlines "favorable" and "unfavorable" factors that agency staff should take into account when determining whether to issue work permits. Some examples of negative factors include having been subject to a final order of removal, misrepresenting information to an immigration officer, or a criminal record of any kind.
The clampdown on work permits is part of a Trump administration effort to restrict access to the program. In a January 2017 executive order, President Donald Trump called on federal officials to ensure parole and asylum laws were "not illegally exploited." Since then, the Trump Administration has moved to terminate several parole programs, including one that allowed Central American parents living in the U.S. legally to apply on behalf of their children and spouses in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
Natalie Tynan, an immigration lawyer, and former Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy unit chief, said the efforts to limit parole stretch back to the start of the Trump administration, she added:
This is where they were heading from the beginning. They want to see fewer [work permits] issued.
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Updated: Mon, Sep 2nd 2019 @ 4:15pm EDT