Senators’ bipartisan legislation improves employment authorization program for asylum seekers
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Senator Susan Collins (Maine) introduced the Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act – bipartisan legislation improving employment authorization for migrants who apply for asylum with verified identities and have no flags in federal databases.
“Arizona’s economy depends on a robust workforce. Our bipartisan bill helps asylum seekers get jobs, support themselves, and participate in Arizona’s economy,” said Sinema, Chair of the Senate Border Management Subcommittee.
The bipartisan legislation, also cosponsored by Independent Maine Senator Angus King, allows asylum seekers to apply for work authorization right when they apply for asylum, as long as their identity is verified by the U.S. government and there is nothing in federal databases that would indicate they are inadmissible or deportable from the United States.
Asylum Seeker Work Reauthorization Act becomes part of Sinema’s work as Chair of the Senate Border Management Subcommittee to treat migrants fairly and humanely, while securing the border and keeping Arizona communities safe.
This February, Sinema called for increased funding for border communities to help manage the migrant crisis. Sinema and a group of bipartisan lawmakers called for continued funding for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program. Sinema previously helped secure $110 million for border communities through this program. When Sinema became Chair of the Border Management Subcommittee, her first hearing focused on the contributions and challenges experienced by non-governmental organizations operating at the border.
Sinema authored and led passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law, which includes $152.4 million to fund the second half of the San Luis Port of Entry upgrade project, as well as $237.6 million for a new commercial land port of entry in Douglas and $202.5 million for modernization of all existing structures and expanding processing capacity at the existing Raul Hector Castro Port of Entry.
Last year, Sinema partnered with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) to introduce their Bipartisan Border Solutions Act—legislation that improves the federal government’s response to the border crisis, reduces the impact on local border communities and ensures migrants are treated fairly and humanely.