Work Permits : Chicago Advocates Demand Federal Support

Chicago Immigration Advocates Rally for Accessible Work Permits

Work Permits : Immigration advocates are intensifying their efforts to secure work permits for long-time undocumented residents as federal officials expand opportunities for newly arrived migrants. A rally is scheduled for 11 a.m.

Thursday on Dia de la Raza outside The Resurrection Project at 1815 S. Paulina St. in Pilsen, where advocates will demand increased accessibility to work permits, a crucial requirement for employment, similar to the recent improvements made for newer migrants.

Work Permits Security

A powerful coalition comprising organizations such as The Resurrection Project, Southwest Organizing Project, Enlace Chicago, Latino Policy Forum, and others are mobilizing Chicago’s immigrant community to champion policy changes.

Netza Hualcoyotl Roldan, CEO of the Binational Institute of Human Development, stated, “Mexican immigrants have been working for decades without any work permits, and we have been ignored and forgotten. It is our time.”

This call for enhanced access to work authorization comes on the heels of President Joe Biden’s administration’s decision to expand temporary protected status for hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who recently arrived in the United States. Under this status, Venezuelans who arrived before July 31 are shielded from deportation and can apply for work permits.

This development likely impacts thousands who have come to Chicago since August 2022, following a protest against federal immigration policies led by Texas Governor Greg Abbott and other politicians.

Shortly after Biden’s announcement in late September, activists and Pilsen Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) held a news conference to applaud the efforts while urging the federal government to consider issuing a similar program for undocumented residents.

One potential solution that local leaders have suggested is expanding parole, another form of temporary protection for immigrants. However, the decision ultimately rests with the federal government. The Immigration and Nationality Act grants the secretary of Homeland Security discretion to parole non-citizens temporarily into the United States “for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.”

On August 28, Mayor Brandon Johnson and Governor JB Pritzker penned a letter to Alejandro Mayorkas, Department of Homeland Security secretary, requesting that the federal government leverage the “significant public benefit” designation to grant work permits to migrants and existing undocumented residents, addressing the labor shortage issue.

“This would unquestionably contribute ‘significant public benefit’ to our nation’s labor shortages while providing non-citizens, like the thousands of asylum seekers we serve, a faster and more streamlined pathway to self-sufficiency,” they stated.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website explains that “significant public benefit” includes but is not limited to law enforcement and national security reasons or foreign and domestic policy considerations.

Also Read : Crackdown on Illegal Immigrants: Islamabad’s New Directive

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