BOSTON, MA —Today, Democratic Whip Katherine Clark (MA-5) joined Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and members of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation, in sending a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ur M. Jaddou, urging them to expedite the processing of employment authorization documents (EADs) for individuals paroled into the United States, which would lessen the strain on available humanitarian and housing resources.
“Over the past year, the Biden administration has increased the number of vulnerable noncitizens eligible to enter the United States under various humanitarian parole programs. Massachusetts is welcoming many of these new arrivals with open arms,” wrote the lawmakers. “But stakeholders across the state — from local governments to housing nonprofits to legal aid groups — are being stretched to capacity as they work tirelessly to meet the needs of immigrant families that are left housing insecure because they cannot work legally and support themselves during their periods of parole.”
Individuals paroled into the United States from ports of entry and through the parole program for nationals from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela (CHNV) are not automatically authorized to work. Instead, they must apply for EADs and wait for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process the application. USCIS’s processing times of EAD applications are often six months or longer. In the meantime, these families have no way of working legally in the United States to support themselves financially.
Without access to legal work opportunities and incomes, many depend on public and nonprofit housing shelters. As the only state with a right to shelter, Massachusetts is committed to assisting newly arriving families with housing. But the Commonwealth, as well as municipalities and nonprofits across Massachusetts, are facing significant strain as they work to meet the needs of families seeking shelter.
“Massachusetts will continue to welcome and assist new arrivals as they resettle across the Commonwealth. The federal government can help relieve the strain on available resources in the Commonwealth by removing obstacles new arrivals face when trying to work legally. We urge the Administration to use its broad authority to streamline and expedite the processing of work authorization requests for new arrivals,” wrote the lawmakers.
Joining Whip Clark, Rep. Pressley, and Sen. Warren in sending the letter are Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Representatives James McGovern (MA-2), Lori Trahan (MA-3), Seth Moulton (MA-6), Richard Neal (MA-1), Stephen Lynch (MA-6), Jake Auchincloss (MA-4), and Bill Keating (MA-9).
A copy of the letter can be found here.