STATEMENT BY DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
SECRETARY JOHN KELLY ON THE ENTRY OF LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENTS
INTO THE UNITED STATES
(January 29th, 2017)
3900 Jermantown Road, Suite 100, Fairfax, Virginia 22030
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USCIS Rule Strengthens Employment Eligibility Requirements for Asylum Seekers
Release Date: June 22, 2020

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced a regulatory change to deter aliens from illegally entering the
United States and from filing frivolous, fraudulent, or otherwise non-meritorious claims for asylum to obtain an employment authorization
document. This rule does not alter asylum eligibility criteria in any way and will be effective on Aug. 25.

This rule stems from the April 29, 2019, Presidential Memorandum on Additional Measures to Enhance Border Security and Restore
Integrity to Our Immigration System, which emphasizes that it is the policy of the United States to manage humanitarian immigration
programs in a safe and orderly manner, and to promptly deny benefits to those who do not qualify.

“Safeguarding the integrity of our nation’s legal immigration system from those who seek to exploit or abuse it is key to the USCIS
mission,” said Joseph Edlow, the USCIS Deputy Director for Policy. “The reforms in this rule are designed to restore integrity to the asylum
system and to reduce any incentive to file an asylum application for the primary purpose of obtaining work authorization. It also deters
frivolous and non-meritorious applications by eliminating employment authorization for aliens who have failed to file for asylum within one
year of their last entry until USCIS or an immigration judge determines the alien’s eligibility for asylum.”

The rule prevents aliens who, absent good cause, illegally entered the United States from obtaining employment authorization based on a
pending asylum application. Additionally, the rule defines new bars and denials for employment authorization, such as for certain criminal
behavior; extends the wait time before an asylum applicant can apply for employment authorization from 150 days to 365 calendar days;
limits the employment authorization validity period to a maximum of two years; and automatically terminates employment authorization
when an applicant’s asylum denial is administratively final.

For more information read the final rule, scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on June 26.

For more information on USCIS and our programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), Instagram (/uscis), YouTube
(/uscis), Facebook (/uscis), and LinkedIn (/uscis).
USCIS Provides Greater Flexibility in Processing Work Authorization Requests for
Asylum Applicants
Release Date: June 19, 2020

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced a regulatory change to provide greater flexibility in the
processing of initial employment authorization documents (commonly called EADs) for asylum applicants by removing the burdensome
and agency-imposed 30-day time frame. The final rule becomes effective on Aug. 21.

This change provides USCIS sufficient time to receive, screen and process applications and to address national security and fraud
concerns, maintain technological advances in identity verification and further deter those who may attempt to defraud the legal
immigration system. It also gives the agency flexibility to shift limited adjudicator resources as needed. In the past, the agency has been
forced to divert resources away from other types of benefit requests to meet the 30-day time frame.

The 30-day time frame was implemented by regulation more than 20 years ago. Since then, filings of asylum applications have spiked
and USCIS has developed additional critical background screening and vetting procedures to reduce fraud and identify threats to national
security and public safety.

“Removing this self-imposed internal processing time frame gives USCIS the operational flexibility to conduct the kind of systematic
vetting and identity verification procedures the public expects from an agency charged with protecting national security,” said USCIS
Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow. “A key priority for USCIS is to safeguard the integrity of our nation’s legal immigration system
from those who seek to exploit or abuse it. This change will reduce opportunities for fraud and protect the security-related processes we
undertake for each employment authorization application, thereby increasing the integrity of immigration benefits.”

The rule also removes the requirement that asylum applicants submit their work authorization renewal requests to USCIS 90 days before
the expiration of their current employment authorization. This change reduces confusion and clarifies that asylum applicants can file their
renewal work authorization applications up to 180 days before the expiration date, minimizing potential gaps in employment authorization.

For more information, read the final rule published in the Federal Register on June 22.

For more information on USCIS and our programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), Instagram (/uscis), YouTube
(/uscis), Facebook (/uscis) and LinkedIn (/uscis).
COVID-19 Delays in Extension/Change of Status Filings
Release Date: April 13, 2020

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recognizes that there are immigration-related challenges as a direct result of the
coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We continue to carefully analyze these issues and to leverage our resources to effectively address
these challenges within our existing authorities. DHS also continues to take action to protect the American people and our communities,
and is considering a number of policies and procedures to improve the employment opportunities of U.S. workers during this pandemic.

Generally, nonimmigrants must depart the United States before their authorized period of admission expires. However, we recognize that
nonimmigrants may unexpectedly remain in the United States beyond their authorized period of stay due to COVID-19. Should this occur,
the following options are available for nonimmigrants:

Apply for an Extension.  Most nonimmigrants can mitigate the immigration consequences of COVID-19 by timely filing an application for
extension of stay (EOS) or change in status (COS). U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services continues to accept and process
applications and petitions, and many of our forms are available for online filing.

If You File in a Timely Manner.  Nonimmigrants generally do not accrue unlawful presence while the timely-filed, non-frivolous EOS/COS
application is pending.  Where applicable, employment authorization with the same employer, subject to the same terms and conditions
of the prior approval, is automatically extended for up to 240 days after I-94 expiration when an extension of stay request is filed on time.

Flexibility for Late Applications. USCIS reminds petitioners and applicants that it can consider delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic
when deciding whether to excuse delays in filing documents based on extraordinary circumstances.  

Under current regulations and as noted on our Special Situations page, if a petitioner or applicant files an extension of stay or change of
status request (on Forms I-129 or I-539) after the authorized period of admission expires, USCIS, in its discretion, may excuse the failure
to file on time if it was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond their control, such as those that may be caused by COVID-19. The
length of delay must be commensurate with the circumstances. The petitioner or applicant must submit credible evidence to support
their request, which USCIS will evaluate on a case-by-case basis. These special situations have been used at various times in the past,
including for natural disasters and similar crises.

Please see 8 CFR 214.1(c)(4) and 8 CFR 248.1(c) for additional information on late requests to extend or change status. In addition,
please see our Form I-129 and Form I-539 pages for specific filing and eligibility requirements for extensions of stay and changes of
status.

Flexibility for Visa Waiver Entrants. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) entrants are not eligible to extend their stay or change status. However,
under current regulations, if an emergency (such as COVID-19) prevents the departure of a VWP entrant, USCIS in its discretion may
grant a period of satisfactory departure for up to 30 days. Please see 8 CFR 217.3(a). For those VWP entrants already granted
satisfactory departure and unable to depart within this 30-day period because of COVID-19 related issues, USCIS has the authority to
temporarily provide an additional 30-day period of satisfactory departure. To request satisfactory departure from USCIS, a VWP entrant
should call the USCIS Contact Center.   

For other policy updates, operational changes, and other COVID-19 information, please visit uscis.gov/coronavirus.
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