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Dozens of mayors urge Biden to extend work permits amid migrant surge

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A coalition of mayors and county officials representing various regions of the United States has appealed to the Biden administration, urging for an extension of work permits for immigrants amidst a surge in migration.

This call highlights the growing pressure on federal authorities from local Democratic leaders grappling with the implications of increased migrant flows.

In a joint email addressed to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ur Jaddou, 43 local officials advocated for an extension of the validity period for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) to 540 days during the renewal process. They emphasized the necessity of this extension to mitigate the potential loss of work authorization for hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers, which could adversely impact businesses and strain municipal resources.

Expressing frustration over processing delays and federal inaction, the signatories underscored the economic ramifications for their communities should immigrant workers lose their ability to legally work. The looming prospect of labor shortages and increased demand for public shelter underscores the urgency of the requested extension, according to the officials.

While U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services had previously extended the automatic extension period for certain applicants to 540 days in 2022, this provision expired in October of the following year, reverting back to 180 days. Concerns persist among local officials regarding ongoing delays in application renewals, prompting their latest plea to federal authorities.

Prominent figures among the signatories include Mayor Eric Adams of New York, Mayor Brandon Johnson of Chicago, Mayor Michelle Wu of Boston, and Mayor Mike Johnston of Denver, among others representing over 20 states nationwide. This unified request reflects a broader trend of local leaders seeking increased federal support to address the migrant influx in their communities.

The appeal coincides with heightened attention on border issues in Washington, with House Republicans advancing efforts to impeach Secretary Mayorkas over his management of the crisis. Meanwhile, the Senate recently passed a $95 billion foreign aid package, devoid of a border deal initially negotiated by a bipartisan group of senators, signaling ongoing partisan divisions on immigration policy. Despite these challenges, local leaders continue to advocate for measures to alleviate the strain of migration on their municipalities.

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