Senate Border Deal May Undercut Provision That Democratic Cities Have Demanded For Migrant Relief

Getty Images/Drew Angerer

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Arjun Singh Contributor
Font Size:
  • A provision of the Senate’s reported deal on border security, in exchange for funding Ukraine, may undercut a key demand from Democratic-run cities affected by an influx of migrants.
  • Republican demands that “humanitarian parole” be limited would prevent incoming migrants from being authorized to work lawfully, thereby reducing their dependency on metropolitan public services.
  • “Let Them Work,” wrote Democratic Mayor Eric Adams of New York City in a press release. 

A tentative proposal for border security being considered by the Senate may undercut a key demand from Democratic-run cities and Hispanic groups of employment authorization for migrants who have put a strain on public services in their jurisdictions.

In response to demands from congressional Republicans, a group of three senators have, since December, been negotiating a legislative proposal that would impose some conservative border security policies in exchange for aid to Ukraine during its war against Russia. One critical GOP demand — the limiting of parole authority — would undercut a demand from Democrats in municipalities that have received migrants to expedite employment authorization for them, thereby reducing their dependency on public services. (RELATED: ‘Dead On Arrival’: Mike Johnson Rips Reported Details Of Senate Border Deal)

“[T]here needs to be a hard cap on parole,” said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a proponent of the deal. “Parole” refers to the authority of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to temporarily admit otherwise inadmissible foreign nationals into the United States for humanitarian reasons, or if they would serve a significant public benefit.

The Biden administration has granted parole to over 1 million foreign nationals who have presented themselves at ports of entry and sought asylum. These individuals are eligible for I-765 Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), also known as “work permits,” which permit them to work lawfully in the United States while on parole.

The Senate’s draft proposal reportedly includes a fail-safe mechanism that would stop migrant intake if the immigration system became overwhelmed, a number that officials estimate is over 5,000 daily encounters in the proposal, according to The New York Times. Should that proposal be adopted, it would limit the issuance of EADs to incoming migrants to cities, which state and municipal leaders have roundly demanded.

“[A] concern that presents cause for alarm is the challenge in helping new arrivals exit the shelter setting…these trends are driven by a confusing tangle of immigration laws and an inability for new arrivals to obtain work authorization from the federal government,” wrote Democratic Gov. Maura Healey of Massachusetts in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Sept. 7, 2023. “[W]e need the Biden-Harris administration to continue working with us…to achieve employment authorization.”

“For months, New York City has spoken with one voice, urging the federal government to put asylum seekers on the path to independence and ‘Let Them Work,’” wrote Democratic Mayor Eric Adams of New York City in a press release in September 2023. Adams has, furthermore, demanded that DHS expedite the process of approving EAD applications from migrants, to ensure they can work for the whole duration of their stay in the United States.

“The city continues to urge the federal government to address the issuance and extension of parole periods so migrants can get to work right away,” the release read. Adams, whose city has received over 160,000 migrants since spring 2022, is one of many Democratic officials who have demanded EAD access for them, which limits on parole would preclude.

“[We] respectfully request that the Department of Homeland Security leverage its authority to grant parole…to create a process for streamlined work authorization in which states could sponsor non-citizens to work,” wrote Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois and Democratic Mayor Brandon Johnson of Chicago in a joint letter to Mayorkas in August 2023. “[I]ndividuals could be sponsored by state governments to work in critical industries. This would unquestionably contribute ‘significant public benefit’ to our nation’s labor shortages,” they wrote.

“It is the height of irresponsibility and partisan politics for Republicans to claim that the price for assisting our international allies is gutting our asylum and humanitarian parole laws,” said Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey on the Senate floor on Dec. 6. Menendez is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which has opposed Republican immigration proposals

Pritzker, Healey, Adams, Johnson, Menendez and other Democratic leaders did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.