Application for asylum with American flag in the background

USCIS Seeks to Limit Asylum Applicants’ Ability to Work While Their Applications Are Pending

This week, there was yet another update released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). reporting that they are proposing a new regulation. This new regulation will restrict asylum seekers’ ability to obtain work authorizations while involved in immigration court proceedings.  Their goal is to “promote greater accountability in the application process for requesting employment authorization and to deter the fraudulent filing of asylum applications for the purpose of obtaining employment authorization documents,” per their notice. 

Immigration agencies have been instructed to block unauthorized immigrants from obtaining employment authorization before being granted relief from deportation and to revoke work permits from immigrants denied asylum or ordered removed. In late April, an executive memo was issued asking USCIS to provide proposals to limit work permits for asylum seekers who crossed the border without authorization.

Typically, asylum applicants may petition for employment authorization documents once 150 days have passed since they filed their application, unless they are responsible for delays in the process.  The wait time to obtain work authorization often leads to financial crisis for many of these asylum applicants. Their living conditions are frequently well below the poverty line; they live in crowded conditions, with limited access to food and medical care. 

Several immigration advocacy groups, including the New York Immigration Coalition and the immigration legal services project Immigrant Justice Corps, voiced their opinions on the negative impact of the work permit delays at USCIS. Asylum seekers who are unable to work face difficulties supporting themselves and their families. As such, numerous immigration legal service coalitions and organizations have filed or threatened to file lawsuits in various Federal District Courts to protect these immigrants. Central to their arguments is that the ability for these people to work, not only is beneficial to the U.S. economy, but also to the lives of these asylum applicants and their families. 

The proposed regulations do not take effect immediately and must still go through a legislative process. Furthermore, people seeking asylum are considered LEGAL immigrants. 

Heiferman & Associates, PLLC provides experienced representation for immigrants in  removal proceedings at immigration courts (EOIR) throughout New York, New Jersey and all over the country.  We also assist new immigrants in applying for asylum with USCIS. (Note: It is crucial an asylum application is filed within an immigrants first year of entry.) Many applicants are unaware of their rights when filing  asylum applications. For this reason we are quick to mount defenses and/or avoid problems associated with the ever-changing immigration policies. Our immigration attorneys are experienced and always on top of the latest immigration conditions in the country. Obtaining experienced and competent legal counsel is crucial to the success rate of these applications. 

Heiferman & Associates operates a full-service Immigration Department that is here to assist clients with a variety of immigration applications and visas including, but not limited to, Asylum, Cancellation of Removal, ICE Detentions, Family-Based (Marriage) Green Cards, Employment Visas and Green Cards (H1-B, EB, TN and O),  Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJ), Victims of Violence (U Visas), Trafficking Visas and many more. Please call (or email) our office for a confidential consultation.