The rewards of expedited migrant work permits outweighs the risks

By Dr. Lyndon Haviland

December 27, 2023

The holidays are here, and while the decorations on Capitol Hill symbolize a season of giving, lawmakers seem more focused on getting what they want on immigration. 

Every member on Capitol Hill agrees the public health crisis at the southern border is untenable. Those truly committed to addressing the emergency know that it can’t be fixed overnight. …

Strengthening security at the border is important, but it must be part of a holistic approach. This must include measures that advance public health, such as creating a more efficient path to U.S. citizenship, building better living conditions for those stuck at the border, developing more humane ways to keep migrant families together, and establishing ways to connect migrants with host families in the U.S., to name a few.   

Beyond these proposals, a step we can take right now, one that has proven to work, is to expedite the ability for migrants living inside the U.S. to earn a living. Today migrants must wait six months after filing their applications for asylum to apply for a work permit. The faster we speed up this process, the better off they — and America — will be.