Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx Joins Fight Against Trump Administration Restrictions on Employment Authorization for Asylum Seekers

Coalition of States, Cities, and Counties Argue DHS Rules Would Limit Job Opportunity for Asylum Seekers, Irreparably Harm State Economies
August 4, 2020

Today, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx joined a coalition of 20 state attorneys general and 10 major cities and counties from around the nation in challenging the Trump Administration’s efforts to limit access to employment authorization for asylum seekers. Under two new rules, individuals seeking asylum in the United States would be indefinitely delayed and barred in some cases from obtaining authorization to work. In an amicus brief — filed in support of the plaintiffs in Casa de Maryland, Inc, et al. v. Wolf — the coalition urges the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland to uphold the plaintiff’s request for a preliminary injunction.

“The Trump Administration continues to take extraordinary steps to block people from creating better and healthier lives,” said State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. “These discriminatory rules are creating unnecessary immoral barriers to employment and inhibiting communities from thriving.”  

The first new Trump Administration rule will require asylum seekers to wait a year before applying for employment authorization, and bar many from obtaining authorization at all. The second rule will eliminate the longstanding requirement that employment authorization applications be processed within 30 days, thus allowing such applications to sit untouched indefinitely.

In the amicus brief — led by New York Attorney General Letitia James and District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine — the coalition highlights the substantial burdens these rules will pose on both states and asylum-seekers. The coalition argues that by prohibiting asylum seekers from working for extended periods, or at all, the new rules will significantly lower the tax revenue that states and localities receive as a result of asylum seekers’ economic activity. Moreover, the inability of asylum seekers to access employer-sponsored health care will lead to increased health and welfare costs shouldered by the states. These costs will be disproportionately felt by the states filing the amicus brief. Collectively, the coalition states are home to more than 26 million immigrants, and over 65 percent of the individuals granted asylum in the United States.

The coalition joining Cook County and Attorneys General James and Racine in filing this amicus brief are: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington; as well as the cities of Albuquerque, NM, Chicago, IL, Los Angeles, CA, Madison, WI, Minneapolis, MN, New York, NY, Oakland, CA, and Seattle, WA; and Howard County in Maryland.