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Breaking Immigration News: Executive Action, EAD Processing

May 27, 2015

Executive Action still in Court Tangle

Exclamation Point The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has unfortunately denied the government’s request for an emergency stay on Judge Hanen’s injunction against DAPA and expanded DACA. After the president announced these programs last November, a group of Republican state officials sued the administration over them. In February, a Federal District Judge put an indefinite delay on their implementation. The government appealed this decision to the Circuit Appeals Court, asking to essentially undo the delay. In a 2-1 ruling, the Appeals Court denied this request, putting DAPA and the DACA expansion into a very uncertain situation.

If allowed to carry on, these programs would provide temporary relief from deportation and give work authorization to up to five million undocumented immigrants. This group is still less than half of the undocumented population and is very deserving of protection. These are people that were either brought here before the age of 16 or are parents of lawful permanent residents or citizens. In both cases, recipients would have had to have been continuously present in the U.S. since 2010. We believe that these executive actions are legal and are good for the economy, so we are saddened by this situation and hope for a swift resolution. The ruling was only preliminary: in July the Court will hear arguments for and against the lower court’s delay. At the same time, the lower court will review the legality of the program, though those in favor of reform believe that this judge is biased against the administration’s efforts on immigration in general.

Lawsuit Underway to Improve EAD Processing

On May 26th, a class action lawsuit was filed to fix USCIS’ recent problem with the issuance of Employment Authorization Documents (EAD). When EAD processing takes longer than expected, a temporary “interim” EAD is supposed to be granted. This policy exists because of the essential nature of the right to go to work and earn a paycheck. There is a problem because processing delays are becoming more prevalent. The problem is made serious by the fact that interim EADs are getting hard to find. Indeed, USCIS representatives recently indicated that the agency has stopped issuing them altogether.

This policy is leaving those affected without the legal right to work in this country. The consequences involved are almost too obvious to mention, but the situation becomes alarming when it is added that the problem also applies to EAD renewals. A lapse in work authorization potentially leaves one’s employer with the heartbreaking choice between laying off a loyal employee or facing fines (or worse) by ICE. To some immigrants, because of state law, a lapse in work authorization can even lead to loss of driving privileges–according to the American Immigration Council. Needlessly allowing these difficulties to ensue is not only bad for those immigrants (and immigrant families) involved, but it is also bad for the economy. We fully support this lawsuit and will monitor it closely.

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