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.
“Because of the government’s delay in processing my work permit renewal, my patients are left without their therapist, my family is left without its main source of support, and I am left helpless until my work permit is renewed. I hope this injustice can be made right through this lawsuit—and that no other asylum seeker will face the uncertainty and instability I have felt waiting for my ability to work to be restored.”
— Dayana Vera de Aponte, Plaintiff and ASAP Member
Information about work permit renewals and delays
- How do I renew my work permit as an asylum seeker?
- Can I still work after my current work permit expires?
- What can I do if I have been waiting a long time for my work permit renewal as an asylum seeker?
Over the last year, ASAP members have made it clear that : (1) receiving work permits faster is one of their top priorities, and (2) many members are experiencing long delays in renewing their work permits. In November 2021, ASAP members sued the government to demand an end to the long delays in processing asylum seekers’ work permit renewal applications.
The lawsuit is called Tony N. v. USCIS — Tony N. is one of 5 ASAP members who is seeking to act as a representative for all impacted asylum seekers, and USCIS is the government agency responsible for processing asylum seekers’ work permit renewals. This lawsuit was dismissed in March 2022 when the 5 ASAP members who sued the government on behalf of all asylum seekers got their work permits. ASAP members filed the lawsuit in the Northern District of California District Court, which is a federal court located in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. ASAP filed this class action lawsuit with our partners at the American Immigration Council (AIC) and Lakin Wille, LLP.
Thanks to the work of ASAP members who filed the lawsuit and spoke to the media about work permit delays, USCIS created a faster work permit process for asylum seekers who are health care workers or child care workers. ASAP is still fighting to end other delays in processing work permits. Read more about ASAP members’ advocacy in the media around the lawsuit at this page.
In the news
- ‘Quite Disruptive’: Months-Long Processing Delays Leave People Out of Work Amid Nationwide Labor Shortage (CNN)
- Asylum Seekers Face Loss of Work, Pay as Paperwork Delays Mount (Bloomberg Law)
- Opinion: The Missing Immigrant Workers (Washington Post)
- These Asylum Seekers Are Losing Jobs Because Bureaucrats Won’t Do Theirs (Reason)
- Asylum Seekers Face Job Losses Amid USCIS Delays: Lawsuit (Reuters)
- Asylum Seekers Sue USCIS Over Work Authorization Delays (Law360)
- ASAP Members Sue USCIS for Unlawful Delays in Renewal of Work Permits (ASAP)
Case documents and timeline
- November 10, 2021: Plaintiffs file Civil Complaint in the Northern District of California
- November 11, 2021: Plaintiffs file Motion to Certify a Nationwide Class
- November 11, 2021: Plaintiffs file Motion for Preliminary Injunction
- November 23, 2021: Judge schedules hearing on preliminary injunction for December 17, 2021
- December 6, 2021: USCIS files Response to Motion for Preliminary Injunction
- December 6, 2021: USCIS files Response to Motion for Class Certification
- December 10, 2021: Plaintiffs file Reply in support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction
- December 10, 2021: Plaintiffs file Reply in support of Motion for Class Certification
- December 22, 2021: Judge enters opinion denying preliminary injunction and motion for class certification
- January 21, 2022: USCIS files Motion to Dismiss
- February 4, 2022: Plaintiffs file Response to Motion to Dismiss
- March 2, 2022: Judge dismisses the Tony N. lawsuit