EAD Adjudication Delays

EAD Adjudication Delays

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project v. USCIS, No. 2:15-cv-00813-JLR (W.D. Wash.)


By regulation, USCIS must either adjudicate applications for employment authorization documents (EADs) within a fixed time period or issue interim employment authorization. Yet USCIS regularly fails to do either, leaving noncitizens in a precarious position, unable to work legally and at risk of losing their jobs, related benefits and, in some states, their driver’s licenses. Since 2013, AILA has repeatedly tried to address these delays with USCIS. Nonetheless, at a meeting with USCIS headquarters in April 2015, agency representatives indicated that “USCIS no longer produces interim EADs.” Faced with increasing reports from immigration lawyers of EAD adjudication delays, the Council and several partners filed this lawsuit against USCIS and DHS.

On July 18, 2017, the court certified a nationwide class of asylum applicants whose pending applications for their initial EADs were not adjudicated within the required 30-day regulatory timeframe and who did not receive interim employment authorization. The court granted the government’s motion to dismiss the claims of the named plaintiffs whose EAD applications were subject to the 90-day regulatory timeframe, concluding that DHS’s amended EAD regulations, which went into effect on January 17, 2017, rendered those claims moot. The case is moving forward with the 30-day nationwide class.

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