“We should all have the ability to work honorably while we wait for our asylum hearings.” -ASAP member from Venezuela
July 2022 Update: In February 2022, a judge ruled that the Trump administration’s old work permit rules are illegal for all asylum seekers! However, we have heard from asylum seekers and immigration attorneys that both non-ASAP members and ASAP members are not receiving their initial work permits within 30 days. ASAP is fighting for our members’ initial work permits to be processed within 30 days! That is why we still recommend that ASAP members continue to submit ASAP membership cards with their work permit applications, even though the cards do not currently guarantee 30-day processing. We will keep our website updated as we learn more.
May 4, 2022 Update: Great news! Work permits for many asylum seekers are now valid for 540 days after the expiration date! Thank you to all of the ASAP members who fought for this change! You can read more at this page.
In 2020, ASAP members were concerned about new rules proposed by the Trump Administration that would severely limit asylum seekers’ ability to obtain work permits. The Trump rules would have allowed the government to take as long as it wanted (even years) to process asylum seekers’ work permit applications, force asylum seekers to wait more than twice as long to be eligible to apply for work permits, add new biometrics requirements and fees, bar many groups of asylum seekers from receiving work permits altogether, and impose other harmful changes. ASAP members chose to file a lawsuit to block the Trump rules from going into effect: CASA v. Mayorkas (originally called CASA v. Wolf).
On September 11, 2020, the court issued an order called a preliminary injunction. The court’s order blocked important parts of the Trump rules for two reasons. First, the court held that Chad Wolf was likely serving unlawfully as the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, meaning that he did not have the power to issue the rules. Second, the court held that the government had likely failed to weigh the harm of the rules, consider less harmful alternatives to the rules, or give the public a full opportunity to comment on the rules.
On February 7, 2022, a judge made a decision in a separate case called AsylumWorks v. Mayorkas. The AsylumWorks case challenged the same work permit rules that ASAP members did in CASA v. Mayorkas, and they won! The judge’s new decision said that the Trump administration’s work permit rules are illegal, and must be changed for all asylum seekers. This is a huge victory that means that many more asylum seekers will now be able to get work permits! This victory would not have been possible without the help of many ASAP members, who spoke out about this problem and shared their experiences. You can read more on our page of updates about the CASA lawsuit.
Prior to the judge’s decision in AsylumWorks, only ASAP members and members of CASA de Maryland could apply for work permits 150 days after applying for asylum, did not have to pay the $85 biometrics fee, and were able to have the government process their work permit applications within 30 days, among other benefits. Now, all asylum seekers should receive these benefits. However, we cannot guarantee that the government has made the changes it needs to make for all asylum seekers to get their work permits quickly. That is why we recommend that ASAP members CONTINUE to submit ASAP membership cards with work permit applications for now.
The fight is not yet over. There is more work to do to ensure that the government follows the judge’s order and allows asylum seekers to access work permits. No matter what, ASAP staff will continue to fight alongside ASAP members for the ability to work!
Updates for ASAP Members
ASAP members: click here for the latest updates on the CASA v. Mayorkas lawsuit.
In the News
- Judge Rules Chad Wolf Likely Unlawfully Serving, Temporarily Blocks Asylum Restrictions (CNN)
- U.S. Restricts Work Permits for Asylum-Seekers (CBS News)
- Appointments of Wolf and Cuccinelli ‘invalid,’ report says (CNN)
- Senate, Ask Chad Wolf About His Illegal Appointment (Lawfare)
- Legal Challenges Descend on Trump’s Acting DHS Head (National Journal)
Case Documents and Timeline
- July 21, 2020: Plaintiffs file civil complaint in the District of Maryland.
- July 24, 2020: Plaintiffs file motion for stay or preliminary injunction. See also:
- September 11, 2020: Court enters opinion granting preliminary injunction.
- November 10, 2020: Government files notice of appeal of court’s September 11, 2020 order to the Fourth Circuit.
- March 23, 2021: Fourth Circuit grants the parties’ joint motion for voluntary dismissal of the appeal, returning the case to the district court.
- April 20, 2021: Plaintiffs file motion for summary judgment and to expand the preliminary injunction. See also:
- June 15, 2021: Defendants file motion for summary judgment on Timeline Repeal Rule.
- See also: Exhibit A to Defendants’ motion – Mayorkas Ratification
- June 29, 2021: Plaintiffs file opposition to Defendant’s motion and move for summary judgment on Timeline Repeal Rule. See also:
- January 25, 2022: Defendants file brief on substantive legal issue (arguing an Acting DHS Secretary can amend an order of succession)
- January 31, 2022: Plaintiffs file opposition to Defendants’ brief on substantive legal issue (arguing only a Senate-confirmed DHS Secretary – and not an Acting Secretary – can amend an order of succession)
- February 7, 2022: Judge overrules Trump administration’s work permit rules in AsylumWorks v. Mayorkas
- August 29, 2022: Defendants file a motion to stay the case
- September 9, 2022: Plaintiffs file a motion for summary judgment or in the alternative, a motion for contempt, and an opposition to Defendants’ motion to stay
- October 18, 2022: Defendants file a motion to dimiss the case
- November 2, 2022: Plaintiffis file opposition to Defendants’ motion to dismiss