NY Times: “The U.S. Economy is Surpassing Expectations. Immigration is One Reason.”

Did you know 18.6% of the U.S. labor force is foreign-born? These workers are fueling our economic growth, especially as birth rates decline and retirements rise. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States economy has grown exponentially and the New York Times attributed this change largely to the increasing immigrant population in the United States. This past year, migration reached its highest level since 2017.

With international instability and economic crises arising around the world, for many migrants, hope remains in the bountiful work opportunities the United States provides. However, completing the paperwork necessary to obtain work authorization is still creating a significant bottleneck and the number of adults streaming over the border continues to outpace the number of work-permit applications that have been submitted. One reason for this being that they are difficult for non-English speakers to complete without legal assistance, which is in short supply, and often require fees and a consistent mailing address.

Yet, even for those who have landed a steady job, these work permits represent a temporary solution while asylum courts remain overwhelmed with applications that now take years to process, subjecting applicants, including many of our clients, to perpetual uncertainty. The most effective solution still remains comprehensive immigration reform which at this point, seems unlikely to happen before the election in November. In spite of this, we can still take small yet powerful actions to make a difference like contacting our local representatives about immigration reform and/or supporting organizations helping immigrants navigate application processes.

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