Challenging USCIS for Delays in Renewal of Employment Authorizations

Challenging USCIS for Delays in Renewal of Employment Authorizations

Tony N. v. USCIS, Case No. 3:21-cv-08742 (N.D. Cal.)


Through rulemaking U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) committed to processing employment authorization document renewal applications for asylum applicants within the 180-day automatic extension of employment authorization. Yet, USCIS regularly fails to do so, leaving asylum seekers and their families in a precarious position, at risk of losing their jobs, related benefits and, in some states, their driver’s licenses.

This nationwide class action lawsuit challenges USCIS’ failure to timely renew work authorizations for asylum workers in the United States and seeks to compel USCIS to take necessary steps to address delays and timely adjudicate employment authorization renewal applications for asylum applicants. 

The complaint alleges that USCIS’ unlawful log-jam is unnecessary and that the agency “has already determined that each of these asylum seekers are authorized to work ... [and that plaintiffs] seek to renew their employment authorization document so they may maintain or resume their employment and support themselves and their families while awaiting adjudication of their asylum claims.”

On December 17, Senior District Judge Maxine M. Chesney heard arguments in a motion for preliminary injunction and motion for class action challenging USCIS’s extreme delays and failure to process work authorization renewals for asylum seekers. While the court denied motions for preliminary relief and class certification on Decemeber 22, the case will continue.

The lawsuit was filed at the federal district court in the Northern District of California by the American Immigration Council, the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project, and Lakin Wille, LLP.

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