FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 12, 2024
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Over 40 Cities for Action (C4A) Mayors & County Executives Call on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for Automatic Extension of Employment Authorization
Today, 43 Cities for Action (C4A) mayors and county executives sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), requesting the automatic extension of Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) for 540 days or longer. This call to action addresses the urgent need to support immigrant workers facing potential job losses due to processing delays.
Historically, individuals have been granted a 180-day grace period wherein an expired EAD remains valid while their renewal application is processed. However, due to significant processing delays, in 2022, USCIS issued a Temporary Final Rule (TFR) extending this period to 540 days, which expired on October 26, 2023. Without an automatic extension, hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers will lose their work authorization, and businesses and communities will bear the economic costs.
The mayors and county executives stress the importance of a permanent solution to prevent hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers from falling out of the workforce, affecting local economies and community stability. The letter underlines the necessity for DHS to implement a permanent change to the EAD extension period, proposing a minimum of three years for any temporary extension. This measure is crucial to address the extensive work permit renewal backlog and prevent the destabilizing effects on immigrant communities and local economies.
C4A and the signatories are committed to continuing their advocacy for fair and humane immigration policies that strengthen their cities and reflect the nation’s values of inclusion and opportunity.
New York City, NY, Mayor Eric Adams: “As part of Cities for Action, I stand united with my fellow mayors and county executives in requesting extended protections for immigrant workers affected by processing backlogs so that they do not lose their work authorization," said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. "New York City thrives on the diverse and dedicated contributions of these community members and stripping people of their right to work is simply un-American. I'm hopeful the federal government acts swiftly to protect the stability and security of hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers and their families.”
Carrboro, NC, Mayor Barbara Foushee: “The importance of this action could not be any clearer since it speaks to some of the basic necessities of life like housing, jobs, and healthcare,” said Mayor Foushee. “A permanent automatic extension of work authorization for 540 days and longer, if needed, will help to secure life-sustaining jobs so that immigrant workers can thrive and support their families. Businesses will certainly benefit because they will not lose vital staff that keeps the day-to-day operations going.”
Denver, CO, Mayor Mike Johnston: “Over the past few weeks, Denver has seen record-high numbers of migrants arriving in our city, and very few have the ability to work and make a living for their families,” said Mayor Mike Johnston. “This has created simultaneous humanitarian and fiscal crises for our city, forcing us to look at significant budget cuts and reduction in services. We know that the ability for migrants to work is critical to Denver’s success, and it is imperative that DHS take immediate action to prevent even more migrants from losing their work authorization.”
Maple Heights, OH, Mayor Annette Blackwell: “The City of Maple Heights encourages consideration of an automatic extension for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) by the Department of Homeland Security, as the individuals potentially impacted directly by such an extension represent sizable positive impacts on our local economies,” said Mayor Blackwell. “ As a local municipality, the City of Maple Heights welcomes workers of all varieties, ethnic and national backgrounds. This auto-extension would allow employers to stabilize their workforces and foster economic stability for contributing individuals across our society.”
Newark, NJ, Mayor Ras J. Baraka: “The City of Newark has been and continues to be a strong supporter of the rights of immigrant workers,” Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka said. “Unless Employment Authorization Documents are extended, immigrant workers living in Newark as well as their families will suffer immensely and this will have an impact on our city. Immigrant workers across the nation deserve the opportunity to financially provide for themselves while awaiting asylum decisions. We as a nation must act with care and compassion as they are in need of our support. I proudly join with Cities for Action and the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project in urging the Department of Homeland Security to issue a permanent automatic extension for an additional 540 days, and ask that DHS move swiftly on this important issue.”
Orange County, CA, 2nd District County Supervisor Vicente Sarmiento: “Asylum seekers are faced with making a painful decision to leave their home country and bravely endure the long, dangerous journey in search of a safe haven. It is important that we see the vulnerability and hardship of such a quest,” said County Supervisor Sarmiento. “Their diverse backgrounds and resilience enhance the social fabric of our communities. It is essential to embrace our asylum-seekers and stand as unwavering champions for the rights and dignity of all people.”
About Cities for Action
Cities for Action is a coalition of nearly 200 U.S. mayors and county executives working to advocate for and promote civic inclusion of our immigrant communities. Click HERE to see a list of Cities for Action mayors and county executives. To learn more about our work, follow us on Twitter.