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Asylum Seekers File Federal Lawsuit to Protect Their Ability to Work

Source: International Refugee Assistance Project

Immigrant advocacy organizations, including CASA, the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP), Centro Legal de la Raza, Oasis Legal Services, and Pangea Legal Services, filed a lawsuit to stop the government from implementing new rules that would limit the ability of asylum seekers to work legally in the U.S. The current rule allows for asylum seekers to apply for a work permit after their asylum application has been pending for 150 days.

The new rule, which begins on August 25, 2020, requires asylum seekers to wait about seven months longer to submit their initial work permit applications and will not allow asylum seekers who have been in the U.S. for more than a year to qualify for a work permit.

The complaint states that the government violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) because “it utterly ignored the humanitarian purpose of the asylum statute and failed to provide adequate justifications for its sweeping changes.” Without being able to legally work, asylum seekers will have difficulty being able to live on their own and apply for legal status in the U.S.

Julie Hiatt, Managing Attorney for Centro Legal de la Raza’s Immigrant’s Rights said, “These new rules cruelly punish immigrants who have fled grave danger in their home countries and force them to remain dependent upon others and in poverty while they wait for the United States immigration system to hear their claims.”

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