By Arun Venugopal, September 10, 2022

New York City officials are pushing the federal government to make it easier for asylum seekers to work legally in this country, but experts say an enormous backlog in applicants awaiting work permits could complicate that task.

Councilmember Gale Brewer wrote to Ur M. Jaddou, director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, urging USCIS to clear the backlog so that asylum applicants can find jobs “as quickly as possible.”

“As of August 25, 2022, New York City has received over 7,300 individuals seeking asylum,” wrote Brewer. “I greeted asylum seekers at the Port Authority Bus Station, welcoming them to New York City. I can assure you that they are ready and able to work.”

In an interview with Gothamist, Brewer said she’d heard from employers in the retail and restaurant sectors, who were looking to hire potential workers.

“The economy is ready for these workers,” said Brewer “They just need the working papers.”

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