June 12, 2023 Update: The CASA v. Mayorkas lawsuit ended because the government agreed to everything that ASAP and our members requested, including working to ensure 30 day processing of initial work permit applications. You can read more at this page.
“I feel very happy, because the outcome of this lawsuit was not only a victory for me, but for many others. I made the decision to participate when I found out that those of us arriving in the United States would not have been able to apply for a work permit until after a year because of the Trump work permit policy. When you arrive in this country, it is very difficult to find a place to live and a way to get around. And with two children, you need to work. I had to be able to feed my kids. So I am very happy with the outcome of this lawsuit. I am also very proud that ASAP has grown so much and now serves more than 500,000 asylum seekers as members.”
— Wendi Garcia, ASAP member whose story was featured in the CASA v. Mayorkas lawsuit
Information about work permits
- Find answers to many questions about work permits.
- Watch a video about how to apply for a work permit.
- See a sample work permit application packet.
In 2020, ASAP members were concerned about new regulations (known as rules) proposed by the Trump Administration that would have prevented many asylum seekers from being able to get work permits. The Trump rules would have allowed the government to take as long as it wanted to process asylum seekers’ initial work permit applications, forced asylum seekers to wait a year after applying for asylum to apply for a work permit, added new fees to work permit applications, and other changes. ASAP members voted to file a lawsuit to stop the Trump rules from going into effect: CASA v. Mayorkas (originally called CASA v. Wolf).
CASA v. Mayorkas has had a wide-ranging impact. In September 2020, the judge ordered that the Trump work permit rules could not be applied to ASAP members and members of another organization called CASA! As a result, from 2020 to 2022, more than 150,000 ASAP members received work permits who otherwise would not have been able to work legally. Then, starting in 2022, the Trump work permit rules were permanently stopped for all asylum seekers!
Additionally, the CASA v. Mayorkas lawsuit was also the first case to successfully argue that Chad Wolf was not lawfully serving as the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This precedent was then adopted to keep the DACA program alive, prevent the implementation of the Trump administration’s asylum regulation, and stop major fee increases to immigration applications.
The case was ultimately dismissed on May 18, 2023 because the Court found that the government had taken steps to voluntarily grant nearly all of Plaintiffs’ requests.
The immigrant rights organizations that brought the case are CASA, Inc., the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP), Centro Legal de la Raza, Oasis Legal Services, and Pangea Legal Services. The case was filed by the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), ASAP, and the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, LLP.
Although this case is over, ASAP will continue to fight to expand access to work authorization for asylum seekers!
In the News
- Asylum Seekers Notch Wins, Work Permit Processing Times Ease (Bloomberg)
- 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
- May 18, 2023: The judge enters an order that dismisses the case