Lawsuit Filed to Stop the New Asylum EAD Rules and Protect Asylum Seekers Ability to Work

protect immigrant rights

Several immigrant advocacy organizations filed a federal lawsuit on July 21, 2020 asking a United States District Court to stop new rules from taking effect that limit the ability of asylum seekers to work legally in the United States. This case challenges two final rules issued by the Department of Homeland Security in June 2020 that seriously restrict an asylum seekers ability to apply for and obtain a work permit.

Currently, asylum seekers may apply for a work permit, known as an Employment Authorization Document or EAD, once their asylum application has been pending for 150 days. The government then has 30 days to process the application. However, under the new rules that are scheduled to take effect on August 25, 2020, asylum seekers will have to wait 365 days - almost 7 months longer - to submit their initial employment applications. Further, there will no longer be a specified timeframe to process the applications.

The plaintiffs are asking the Court to vacate the new asylum EAD rules so that the current rules remain in effect. The complaint claims that the new Asylum EAD rules violate the Administrative Procedure Act by overhauling the asylum system through a rushed series of rule changes, utterly ignoring the humanitarian purpose of the asylum statute, and failing to provide adequate justifications for its sweeping changes.

As temporary relief, the plaintiffs request that the Court issue a preliminary injunction to postpone the effective date of the new Asylum EAD rules in order to prevent irreparable injury pending the conclusion of the case. Overall, the case asks the Court to declare the new rules unlawful, to set them aside in their entirety and to stop DHS from enforcing or implementing the new Asylum EAD rules.

The full complaint can be found here.

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