On Monday, September 9, 2019, DHS will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking which would eliminate the mandatory 30-day timeline in which USCIS must adjudicate an application for employment authorization submitted by asylum applicants. DHS is also proposing to eliminate the provision requiring applications for renewal EADs to be submitted to USCIS 90 days prior to the expiration of the current EAD. The proposed changes, announced with the flowery language of “USCIS Proposes More Effective and Efficient Processing of Work Authorization Requests for Asylum Applicants,” are of course advertised under the guise of allowing USCIS the necessary time to properly process the applications, vet the applicants, and prevent immigration fraud. But it is difficult to see this move as little more than raising another obstacle and adding additional undue delays and frustrations to immigrants. It is no secret that processing times and backlogs have already ballooned under the Trump Administration; this unfortunate proposal will only add another category of EAD applicants to the chaos.
The proposed rule will be officially published on Monday. In the meantime, you can read the full text of the unpublished version here.
Copied from the Proposed Rule:
II. Executive Summary
A. Purpose of the Regulatory Action
DHS is proposing to eliminate the regulation articulating a 30-day processing timeframe for USCIS to adjudicate initial Applications for Employment Authorization (Forms I-765 or EAD applications) for asylum applicants. This change is intended to ensure USCIS has sufficient time to receive, screen, and process applications for an initial grant of employment authorization based on a pending asylum application. This change will also reduce opportunities for fraud and protect the security-related processes undertaken for each EAD application. DHS is also proposing to remove the provision requiring that the application for renewal must be received by USCIS 90 days prior to the expiration of their employment authorization. This change is intended to align existing regulatory text with DHS policies implemented under the Retention of EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers final rule, 82 FR 82398, 82457 (2017 AC21 Rule), which became effective January 17, 2017.
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