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KC organizations that help asylum seekers obtain work permits react to Mayor Lucas' comments

Mayor Lucas announced Thursday he welcomed legal migrant workers into Kansas City
Migrant story
Posted at 5:46 AM, Apr 23, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Bill Cordaro with the KC Welcome Alliance says Mayor Lucas’ comments about accepting legal migrant workers are appreciated as his organization works with many asylum seekers who want the ability to work in the U.S.

"Without more workers, we are shrinking in the numbers of workers we are having, we just cant sustain a growing economy, no way,” Cordaro said. “When they come across the border, they come and they find a border patrol officer and turn themselves in and they declare asylum, they are not trying to sneak across, they want to apply for asylum.”

Cordaro said when asylum seekers are at the border, they are vetted by government law enforcement agencies, given medical exams, issued a document that says they are in the United States legally and given 30 days to go to immigration court. After that, it takes weeks for them to get a work permit so they can legally work in the U.S.

Itzel Vargas Valenzuela at the advocates for immigrant rights and reconciliation knows the process all too well. Valenzuela went through the immigration system to be lawfully present in the United States.

“Just this idea that migrants come in and get all of these resources handed out to them is not true and it really kind of falls on non-profits like ours to find resources from other non profits that might be able to help them,” Valenzuela said.

Helping them with finding jobs, medical care and understanding their rights and duties as legal migrant workers.

“We also try to educate our community about what their rights are, what their responsibilities are, once they are here to make sure not only are they following the law and doing things right but they also know how to protect themselves,” Valenzuela said.