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CASA de Maryland v. Mayorkas: Protecting asylum seekers’ access to work authorization

This case challenges Trump-era rules that make it more difficult for asylum seekers to access work authorization (also known as “Employment Authorization Documents” or EADs).

Our clients in the case: In this lawsuit, IRAP represents five non-profit organizations that serve asylum applicants: CASA de Maryland, the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP), Centro Legal de la Raza, Oasis Legal Services, and Pangea Legal Services. ASAP and the law firm of Gibson Dunn, LLP are our co-counsel.

Why our clients are bringing the case: Our clients are hoping to eliminate a pair of rules that went into effect during the Trump era that make it more difficult for asylum seekers to receive work authorization while they wait for their asylum applications to be decided. One of these rules removed the 30-day requirement for USCIS to decide work authorization applications and another added barriers to accessing work authorization. Work authorization is important for asylum seekers to have a way to support their livelihoods during the long wait for asylum in the country.

The impact of this case: If our clients succeed in making sure that the rules are eliminated, over a hundred thousand asylum seekers each year would have an easier time receiving work authorization and supporting themselves and their families while they pursue their asylum claims in the United States.

If you are an asylum seeker looking for work authorization resources, please click here (Englishespañol) for the resources of the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project, one of our clients and our co-counsel in this case.

Case status: Even though the rules were vacated in another case, our clients and asylum seekers continue to be impacted by the Trump-era rules, including by the government’s failure to restore 30-day application processing for asylum seekers’ initial employment authorization applications. We are therefore continuing to fight to make sure that the rules are not enforced against asylum seekers. Please review our client ASAP’s website for more information on how to apply for EADs.

Case history highlights:

  • July 21, 2020: Complaint is filed.
  • September 11, 2020: Victory! The court issues a preliminary injunction that prohibits the government from applying some of the rule changes to members of CASA de Maryland and ASAP. The preliminary injunction applies to anyone who is a member of CASA de Maryland or ASAP when they submit the application for a work authorization based on an asylum application.
  • September 30, 2022: Our clients file a motion for summary judgment and a permanent injunction to make sure that the rules are not enforced against asylum seekers. The motion is fully briefed and we are awaiting a decision from the court.

Follow the Case

  • July 21, 2020 Complaint

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  • September 11, 2020 Court’s order and memorandum opinion granting in part Plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary relief

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  • August 3, 2020 Defendants’ opposition to Plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary relief

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  • August 7, 2020 Plaintiffs’ reply in support of preliminary relief

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  • August 17, 2020 Plaintiffs’ supplemental letter brief in support of preliminary relief (705 stay)

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  • August 17, 2020 Defendants’ supplemental letter brief in opposition to preliminary relief (705 stay)

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  • August 21, 2020 Plaintiffs’ supplemental letter brief in support of preliminary relief (standing, Vacancies Act)

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  • August 21, 2020 Defendants’ supplemental letter brief in opposition to preliminary relief (standing, Vacancies Act)

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  • August 26, 2020 Plaintiffs’ motion for leave to file supplemental brief and Exhibit A with supplemental brief (standing, Vacancies Act)

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  • August 26, 2020 Exhibit A with supplemental brief (standing, Vacancies Act)

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  • September 2, 2020 Defendants’ supplemental letter brief in opposition to preliminary relief (standing, Vacancies Act, scope of relief)

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  • September 2, 2020 Plaintiffs’ supplemental letter brief in support of preliminary relief (standing, Vacancies Act, scope of relief)

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  • September 4, 2020 Plaintiffs’ supplemental letter brief in support of preliminary relief (standing, Vacancies Act, scope of relief)

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  • September 4, 2020 Defendants’ supplemental letter brief in opposition to preliminary relief (standing, Vacancies Act, scope of relief)

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  • September 11, 2020 Court’s order and memorandum opinion granting in part Plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary relief

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  • October 21, 2020 Parties’ status report on preliminary injunction implementation

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  • April 20, 2021 Plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment, or in the alternative, to modify the preliminary injunction

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  • September 9, 2022 Motion for summary judgment, or in the alternative, motion for contempt

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  • September 9, 2022 ASAP declaration in support of motion

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  • Asylum Seekers and Advocates Discuss Fight for Work Permits Following Oral Arguments in CASA v. Mayorkas Case

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  • Press Release: Court Partially Blocks Rules Limiting Work Permits for Asylum Seekers

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  • Press Release: Asylum Seekers File Federal Lawsuit to Protect Their Ability to Work

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