Work Authorization Restored for Some Immigration Asylum Seekers
The US District Court of Maryland in Casa de Maryland v. Wolf issued a preliminary injunction, halting new immigration rules that affect asylum seekers. The court’s decision helps thousands of asylum seekers obtain EAD work authorization while awaiting a decision on their asylum applications.
The DHS Rule
Recently, the Trump Administration sought to prevent asylum seekers from working, while their asylum applications remained pending. Chad Wolf, serving as Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), announced the rule. It is that asylum seekers:
- Must wait almost 7 months longer (appx. 12 months total) to submit their initial work permit application unless they had filed their work authorization application before August 25, 2020;
- Are ineligible for work authorization if they filed their asylum application
- after August 25, 2020, and
- more than a year after entry to the US, unless an immigration judge finds they qualify; and
- Have no right to speedy processing of the EAD card by the government unless an application for work authorization was filed before August 21.
The Court Ruling
The court’s preliminary injunction ends this new DHS rule and puts things back the way they have been for many years in favor of those who are subject to the lawsuit. As such, those asylum seekers:
- May request work authorization 150 days after filing for asylum.
- Are eligible for work authorization regardless of whether they filed for asylum after more than a year of arriving in the United States.
- Will have work authorization applications adjudicated within 30 days.
- Who are eligible for work authorization must receive that authorization.
- Are not be required to submit additional biometric information if they have already done so for their asylum application.
The court recognized that the DHS rules place an undue burden on asylum seekers who normally have very little money and need to work to survive, and somehow pay their attorney if they even have one. Also, the court found that Defendant Chad Wolf likely lacked the authority to issue the rules in the first place, as he was not lawfully serving as Acting Secretary of DHS.
Such a Relief
Asylum seekers are some of the most vulnerable members of our population. It seems inhumane to prevent them from working because the USCIS and immigration courts are slow. This administration has put a lot of time and energy into creating barriers for immigrants, many who have legitimate claims. Things would go so much more smoothly and efficiently if the agencies were less antagonistic and litigious, more fair minded. I’m an attorney and I don’t believe that litigation helps the economy or our society. There is a lot of wasted time on creating unnecessary problems.
Benefits under the court ruling require that the asylum applicant join the lawsuit.