USCIS Ordered to Print Delayed Employment Authorization Documents05 Aug 2020
On July 22, 2020 a group of foreign nationals filed a class action lawsuit against the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) based on delays in the issuance of employment authorization documents (EADs) following the approval of applications for employment authorization (form I-765). On August 3rd, the federal district judge overseeing the case handed the plaintiffs a victory, ordering the USCIS to issue the EADs within seven days.
The USCIS previously contracted with a third-party company to produce EADs and green cards. The USCIS planned to have federal employees take over the printing to cut costs, but in the interim, approximately 75,000 EADs have not been physically produced. This has resulted in many foreign nationals losing work authorization, as the I-765 approval does not grant work authorization without the physical EAD.
Lawsuit Does Not Help Those With Pending I-765s
It should be noted that this lawsuit only applies if a person has an I-765 that has been approved, but no EAD has yet been issued. Unfortunately, this lawsuit does not provide any relief to applicants with pending I-765 applications.
While this is good news for those awaiting EADs to be produced, an injunction hearing is set for August 10, 2020. The USCIS argues that there is no statute or regulation setting a timeline for action, while the judge responds that in the absence of a timeline in statute or regulation, the court retains jurisdiction to decide whether the delay was reasonable. The delay is an immediate threat of harm as individuals cannot provide for themselves and their families.
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