USCIS Announces a Proposed Rule That Seeks to Change Eligibility Requirements for Work Authorization Based on Pending Asylum Claims

On November 14, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a proposed rule modifying eligibility for employment authorization based on a pending asylum claim. USCIS’s proposal includes excluding from eligibility for employment authorization:

  • Aliens who entered or attempted to enter the United States unlawfully without good cause;
  • Aliens who have failed to file for asylum within one year of their last entry absent an exception to be determined by an asylum officer or Immigration Judge; and
  • Aliens who have been convicted of an aggravated felony.

The proposed rule also seeks to eliminate:

  • Recommended approvals for a grant of affirmative asylum, extending the waiting period to apply for employment authorization;
  • Limiting EAD validity periods, eliminating the requirement that USCIS return an incomplete application within 30 days to have it completed;
  • Incorporating biometrics requirements into the employment authorization process; and
  • Eliminating the grant of employment authorization after an alien is paroled and has established credible fear or reasonable fear of persecution or torture.

Although the USCIS states that the purpose of the rule is to deter frivolous asylum claims, the rule will impact all asylum seekers.