Asylum Groups Claim Work Permit Case Is Not “Moot” Due to Change in Regulations

Work Permit Case
November 13, 2022

Organizations representing asylum seekers are attempting to continue a case in the US District Court for the District of Maryland. According to the case, the employment authorization policies instituted by the previous administration harmed the organizations’ clients. Furthermore, these groups claim the harm has not been nullified by vacating these rules under the current administration.

The plaintiff informed the US District Court Judge presiding over the case that the defense had flouted the briefing schedule. According to the plaintiff, the defendant submitted a motion to dismiss and a response to the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment 53 days after the deadline to file an opening and reply brief.

The plaintiffs initially sued in 2020, challenging the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) policies. According to the original case, the DHS repealed the 30-day deadline for processing work permit applications for asylum seekers, increased wait times for submitting a request, and tightened eligibility criteria. The plaintiffs received a preliminary injunction that shielded their members from these rules; however, a separate group later challenging the regulations convinced a District Court in Washington, DC, to vacate the regulations.

Months later, the plaintiffs continued to insist that the Maryland court issue a ruling. In addition, the plaintiffs insisted that the DHS had continued enforcing these rules against their clients, disregarding previous orders of both courts.

In response, the DHS protested against the arguments in its recent filings with the court. The DHS stated that delays in processing work authorization requests resulted from vacating regulations that touched upon many sections of federal regulations. According to the department, it is actively working to address these concerns.

Additionally, the department has challenged the rationale that the court holds jurisdiction to hear the case due to a two-year-old injunction. Under that rationale, the DHS argued that the plaintiffs could indefinitely use this lawsuit to challenge any issues with processing asylee work permits. The DHS further added that they could do this despite the former lawsuit only seeking to vacate the department’s former policy.

However, the plaintiffs have rebuffed this response, arguing that the DHS neglected to present any new facts. In addition, they have stated that the department has failed to restore the 30-day processing period and the changes to implementation that the plaintiffs seek. As a result, the plaintiffs claim that it is unclear when the irreparable harm to their clients will cease.

The Washington, D.C.-based plaintiffs have similarly claimed that the DHS has continued to enforce the previous administration’s rules. It is unclear how either of these courts will proceed with these claims.

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