Posted December 12, 2019 12:19:21As a newly minted immigrant from Ghana, Angel Island resident Abigail O’Reilly has always had a hard job: finding work in the United States.
“I got a green-card in the middle of the crisis, I was able to apply and get it, and I worked for two years,” she told Al Jazeera.
But that’s not the case for other newly minting immigrants.
Many of them face difficulties getting work as they have been granted temporary work permits.
O’Reilly, who is a legal permanent resident, applied for a greencard in December. “My fiancé and I were looking for a job, and we thought we might get a green, but I didn’t think it would be this difficult,” she said.
“We had been working in America for two months, and it was difficult, but then we went back to Ghana and we applied again.”
O’Brien said that while she was still a legal resident of Ghana, the application process took up to a month, and was delayed for over a year.
The process was especially difficult for her because she was not legally allowed to work while in the country, and her employer, her employer’s legal representative, told her she would need to wait for her green card to be processed before she could resume her employment.
Oberstein, O’Brien’s fiancé, also applied for her temporary work permit in the same timeframe.
“They were both looking for work, but they were not able to get a job until they had been here for two weeks,” she explained.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is also processing their applications and is currently processing the rest of O’Connor’s fiancée’s green card.
“I was just waiting to get the green card and get the money for it,” O’Brien said.
“It’s been hard, but there’s been so many other people who have gone through it and we’re doing this for our kids and our grandkids.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has called on President Donald Trump to extend the green-cards, claiming that it “seems the government has become increasingly punitive” with the new green cards that have been issued in the aftermath of the US election.
“For many, the process has been extremely difficult, with employers denying applicants even the opportunity to apply,” said Omar Jadwat, senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Florida.
“While the president has promised that he will not extend the status of those newly issued green cards, we are hopeful that he is acting now to address this issue, so that thousands of previously green-covered immigrants and their families are given a second chance to live and work in America.”