On July 26, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington found that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must adjudicate an asylum applicants’ initial (first time) application for an employment authorization document within 30 days. Rosario v. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Servs, No. 2:15-cv-00813-JLR, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 222338; 2018 WL 7568371 (W.D. Wash. July 26, 2018). The government has since appealed the decision. As of now, however, the order of the US District Court remains in effect.
To benefit from the district court’s decision, an individual must be a member of the certified class. The class is defined as follows: Noncitizens who have filed or will file applications for employment authorization that were not or will not be adjudicated within . . . 30 days . . . and who have not or will not be granted interim employment authorization. [This class] consists of only
those applicants for whom 30 days has accrued or will accrue under the applicable regulations, 8 C.F.R. §§ 103.2(b)(10)(i), 208.7(a)(2), (a)(4). Thus, to qualify, one must be an asylum applicant who has filed an employment authorization application for the initial (first time) document, filed pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(c)(8), and the application has not been adjudicated within the required 30-day regulatory time frame, and who did not receive an interim employment authorization card. Asylum applicants who are applying to renew an employment authorization card are not part of this class and do not benefit.
In short, an asylum applicant is eligible to file for an initial employment authorization card after 150 days has passed. Once they file that initial application for an EAD card, the USCIS now has 30 days to adjudicate the application. What steps should one take if more than 30 days passes? Here is what is suggested:
- After an initial EAD application has been pending for 25 days, the applicant or his or her legal representative should initiate a USCIS service request to inquire about the status of the application. To initiate a service request, call USCIS at 1-800-375-5283. The requests must be initiated by a telephone call. The request may not be submitted electronically on the USCIS website.
- If there is no response to the service request after 8 business days, one may send an email to the USCIS Texas Service Center (TSC) Class Action email box at email@example.com and copy class counsel at asylumEAD@nwirp.org. Include the applicant’s name, A-number, service request number, date of the service request, Form I-765 receipt number, and date USCIS received Form I-765.
- If USCIS does not respond within 8 business days of that email, a class member may file an action in district court.