Saturday, November 27

Asylum seekers sue USCIS for delay in renewal of work permits

The lawsuit is intended to force the USCIS to remedy the delays and promptly process the requests for employment permits.

John Moore / Getty Images

THE ANGELS – Five asylum seekers filed a legal claim against the Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) due to delays in the renewal of their work permits, which have put the jobs of the applicants at risk, groups that advocate for migrants reported Friday.

The legal complaint filed Wednesday in federal court in San Francisco, California, intends to compel USCIS to address delays and promptly process employment permit renewal requests of asylum seekers, the American Immigration Council (AIC) said in a statement.

The plaintiffs are a doctor who treats underserved rural populations, a long-distance truck driver, a food service manager, a technology worker and a behavioral health worker for children with special needs.

In the statement, AIC said that despite national shortages in each of these industries, plaintiffs have lost or will lose their jobs because USCIS has delayed the renewal of your work authorization.

In certain cases, delays exceed ten months or more to approve the application. That’s the dilemma for Dayana Vera de Aponte, a Venezuelan asylum seeker who resides in Miami, Florida, and has waited about 260 days for USCIS to renew her work permit.

On November 9, the automatic extension made by USCIS to this type of documents ended, exposing her to lose her job, the lawsuit describes.

“I hope that this injustice can be corrected through this lawsuit and that no other asylum seeker faces the uncertainty and instability that I have felt waiting for my ability to work to be restored,” warned the immigrant, who arrived in the United States. 6 years ago seeking asylum.

Another of the plaintiffs, identified as Tony N, submitted his renewal application on December 23, 2020, and after almost 11 months you still haven’t received the new document.

“This is bureaucracy at its finest. Despite submitting documentation in time to renew her employment authorization, USCIS has shelved those applications as the US economy desperately needs workers, ”said Emma Winger, an attorney for AIC.

He added that the loss of employment authorization not only limits the working capacity of asylum seekers, Rather, the permit is a prerequisite for health insurance and certain professional licenses., and to obtain a driver’s license in most states, which ends up complicating the picture for these immigrants.

The five asylum seekers are being supported in the lawsuit by AIC, the Asylum Seeker Support Project (ASAP) and the law firm Lakin & Wille LLP.

“The plaintiffs not only seek to represent themselves, but through their courageous defense they hope protect all asylum seekers from these delays and lose their livelihoods, health insurance and the ability to support their families”Said Zachary Manfredi, ASAP’s director of litigation.

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