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Bending the Arc references a quote by Rev. Dr. King who said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” This twice-monthly digital newsletter from the CSA Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation office showcases the work of changemakers, opportunities to learn, and opportunities for you to help “bend the arc” toward justice. Full contents of the newsletter are published on this page. 
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Protect Asylum Seekers By Letting Them Work

May 09, 2024
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

Bill H.R. 1325 corrects the counterintuitive work authorization process with a commonsense solution, giving asylum seekers an opportunity to live a safe, fulfilling life while giving our economy the boost it so desperately needs.

Asylum seekers in the U.S. are at risk of sex and labor human trafficking when not allowed to find legal work and provide for their families. Catholic Sisters and people of good will encourage Congress to fix this vulnerability and also to eliminate unnecessary bureaucratic red tape by passing H.R. 1325, the Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act. The bill was introduced by Congresswoman, Chellie Pingree of Maine. It would reduce the current 180-day waiting period to obtain a work permit to just 30 days after applying for asylum. Learn more on her website. H.R.1325 is a win-win. Businesses need workers and asylum seekers want to work.

Additionally, the Alliance to End Human Trafficking offered another edition to their Breaking the Link video series on April 17. It was called, Breaking the Link: Work Authorization for Asylum Seekers Protects them from Trafficking. 

 

The webinar reminds us simply, “if an asylum seeker cannot work legally, what are their options?” They have families to support. If they are caught working illegally, it is detrimental to their asylum process as well as the work permit. Key to this issue is changing the narrative - asylum seekers are not criminals. They are people who leave their country and are seeking protection from persecution and serious human rights violations in another country. Seeking asylum is a human right, so is the right to work.

Two key principles of Catholic Social Teaching are Life and Dignity of the Human Person and The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers. People do not lose dignity because of disability, poverty, age, lack of success, or race. People also have the right to decent and productive work, fair wages, private property and economic initiative. The economy exists to serve people, not the other way around.

Now that you have this information, please contact your representative TODAY and ask them to co-sign H.R. 1325. The faster these individuals can legally work, the safer they are and work gives them dignity.

For additional information, read this 3/12/2024 release from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: 
USCIS Streamlines Process for Refugee Employment Authorization Documents