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USCIS Announces New Rules Regarding Work authorizations for Asylum Seekers

USCIS recently announced the following new rules regarding work authorizations for asylum seekers: 

1. Blocking asylum applicants who entered without a visa or inspection by an immigration officer from seeking work authorization at all. Also, included in this ban on work authorization eligibility, are people who failed to apply for asylum within one year of their last entry into the United States. 

2. Changing the waiting period to be eligible to apply for employment authorization from 150 days to 365 days. 

3. It denies eligibility for work authorization for people who are exercising their right to appeal their immigration case to a Federal court after their first appeal was denied by the Board of Immigration Appeals.

4. The rule also introduces new bars to those seeking employment authorization based on criminal history.

The ASC legal team is working remotely and only meeting with people at the offices by appointment only. If you do not have an appointment, or if you have a question, are looking for help with a legal matter, or are an existing client looking to reach the staff working on your case, please call 929-269-6494 and leave a message with your name, phone number, preferred language and staff member you are calling for.

Update on SCOTUS Decision on DACA

The court protected DACA for now. However, the Supreme Court made it clear that the Federal government has the authority to rescind DACA if it wants to. The court specifically decided that the Trump administration did not follow the laws and proper procedure required to the end the program. The lower courts had previously given the Trump administration a chance to conform to those rules, and the administration decided not to do that. Therefore, the Supreme Court ruled that the termination of the DACA program was unlawful, and that it should continue. 

The court said that the government can provide protection from deportation for certain classes of immigrants, but that does not mean that it can also provide those immigrants the right to work. However, it said that whether the choice by the Obama administration to give DACA recipients work authorization permits was right or wrong, now that it was in effect, there is a reasonable expectation by DACA recipients that they could rely on having a right to work. Therefore, the Supreme Court said that any termination of the DACA program needs to take into account that reliance, and provide a termination plan that allows for DACA recipients sufficient time and means with which to plan for a life without the right to work. 

“The Supreme Court’s decision means that for now, people who are eligible for DACA should be able to apply for and receive it,” says ASC Supervising Attorney Franco Torres.  

However, the Supreme Court in its decision provided an outline of what a proper termination of the DACA program that complies with the relevant laws and procedures would look like. Without missing a beat, the Trump administration has already stated that it plans to move forward with again seeking to terminate the DACA program.  

“The day after the Supreme Court’s decision, USCIS posted on its website that they consider the DACA program to be illegal. On June 19, President Trump tweeted that his administration planned to ‘resubmit enhanced papers’ to the court to again challenge the validity of the DACA program. Afterwards, acting Director for USCIS Ken Cuccinelli said ‘We are going to move as quickly as we can to put [executive branch] options in front of the President.’ This refusal by the Trump Administration to acknowledge and respect the Supreme Court’s decision has left immigration advocates wondering how USCIS will handle both new and renewal DACA applications submitted after the decision,” says ASC Supervising Attorney Franco Torres. The concern is that with the impending furloughs at USCIS, the administration will use this as an excuse to deliberately slow down the processing of DACA applications instead of denying them outright.

The ASC legal team is working remotely and only meeting with people at the offices by appointment only. If you do not have an appointment, or if you have a question, are looking for help with a legal matter, or are an existing client looking to reach the staff working on your case, please call 929-269-6494 and leave a message with your name, phone number, preferred language and staff member you are calling for.

 

Board of Directors Announcement of Executive Director Retiring

A note from, Uzoamaka Okoye, Chair of the Board of Directors

Dear African Services Committee community,

Today the Board of Directors announces the Fall 2020 retirement of Kim Nichols as Co-Executive Director at African Services Committee. Her Co-Executive Director and Founder of African Services Committee, Asfaha Hadera, will also be transitioning from Co-Executive Director to an advisor role for the Ethiopia Program. 

The New Public Charge Rule: What It Means for the Community and Providers

Editor's note: ASC thanks our partners at Legal Aid SocietyProtecting Immigrant Families, and The New York Immigration Coalition for providing information and resources. 

Updated Feb. 1, 2020: The U.S. Supreme Court granted the government’s request to undo the District Court’s injunction in the MRNY v. Cuccinelli case on Monday, January 27, 2020, which African Services Committee is a plaintiff. This means that the October 11, 2019 injunction we had obtained to block the DHS public charge rule will be un-blocked pending further litigation. The Supreme Court’s stay will last at least until the appeals court's decision, until the Supreme Court denies any request for certiorari (a writ or order by which a higher court reviews a decision of a lower court), or agrees to hear the case and issue a decision. However, even if we ultimately prevail in court, in the meantime the Rule would likely remain in effect for at least several months. 

Read more: The New Public Charge Rule: What It Means for the Community and Providers

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