The proposal, which has not yet been finalized, would prohibit asylum-seekers from applying for work permits until they have been in the country for one year. Previous guidelines allowed for asylum-seekers to apply for work permits 150 days after filing their application. This allowed them to seek employment while waiting for their case to go to immigration court. The policy aims to target Mexican families currently seeking asylum. Currently, Mexican nationals are allowed to seek asylum in the United States. Under an agreement with the Mexican government, asylum-seekers from Central America are sent back to Mexico to await trial-a move meant to deter Central American asylum-seekers from the United States.
Since 2014, the majority of asylum-seekers have been Central American.
The current backlog in immigration courts has led to asylum cases taking two years to be adjudicated.
The Trump Administration has been toting this policy for some time. Another plan was to deny asylum-seekers the ability to apply for work for one year. Advocates and critics of the bill say it would force immigrants and asylum-seekers to work under the table and in the shadow economy.
Proponents of the policy claim that the long wait will prevent Mexicans from attempting to seek asylum in the U.S.
In September, the Trump administration proposed a rule that would extend the deadline for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to respond to asylum-seekers applying for work permits past a 30-day window.
The Department of Homeland Security has tried to implement multiple restrictive asylum-seeker policies, including a policy that would make it illegal for seek asylum in the U.S if an asylum-seeker passed through another country and failed it claim it there.
The new policy comes just after the Trump Administration announced Chad Wolf will be taking over as Homeland Security Secretary.