Refugee Congress Condemns New Rule That Limits Asylum-Seekers’ Work Authorization


Refugee Congress condemns a new rule announced by the Trump Administration that delays and bans asylum-seekers’ ability to obtain employment authorization.

The rule doubles the time asylum-seekers must wait before applying for employment authorization, from 150 to 365 days, and blocks work authorization for many asylum-seekers based on entry or filing requirements.

As an organization built and led by refugees, asylum-seekers and other vulnerable migrants, we know the importance of asylum as a lifesaving protection. Asylum-seekers flee their home countries in pursuit of safety and security. Every year, about one million people worldwide seek asylum.

“To leave everything behind — your entire past life behind — you are just looking for a chance to start over again, free of threats and violence,” said Carmen Kcomt, Refugee Congress Board Member and Delegate for California. “Requesting asylum was my last chance, and it was not even a choice — it was a must.”

Refugee Congress believes everyone has the right to protection from persecution and stands together with communities and advocates around the country in condemning ongoing attacks on asylum protections. The Trump Administration has repeatedly sought to restrict asylum seeking and create policies that put asylum-seekers at risk.

This rule is another example of an attempt at punishing people applying for asylum and discouraging others from seeking protection. It puts asylum-seekers and their families’ health and safety at risk and will prevent many from feeding and supporting themselves and their families.

Refugee Congress values the important contributions of asylum-seekers as assets who make important economic and cultural contributions to our communities. The U.S. economy relies on undocumented labor in many sectors, and undocumented workers often face dangerous labor conditions with few protections or rights. Millions work in essential, low-wage jobs hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and live in constant fear of immigration raids, arrests, detention and deportation.

We condemn this new rule and other actions that put asylum-seekers and their families in danger. It is vital that we embrace our nation’s tradition of welcome and provide a safe haven and protection to refugees and asylum-seekers fleeing persecution and violence.


Refugee Congress is a nonpartisan advocacy organization built and led by former refugees, asylum-seekers and other vulnerable migrants to promote the well-being, integration and dignity of all vulnerable migrants. With delegates across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, we use our voices and experiences to inform and influence decision-makers on critical domestic and international issues that affect our communities.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kacy Kostiuk, Communications Manager, (202) 905-6238,