Ukrainian Parolees Shouldn’t Need Employment Cards to Work – Twitter thread from July 11, 2022
@uscis – This is a message from the folks at IMMPact Litigation. @blesjm1 @lilysaxelrod @ImmlawACHall @ckuck @jwhollis
USCIS is to be commended for the fast and relatively easy application process available to Ukrainians coming to the US under the Uniting for Ukraine program. Applicants are getting approved in a matter of weeks.
Unfortunately, once in the US, they’re not permitted to work without filing an I-765 application for an employment authorization document (EAD). https://www.uscis.gov/ukraine.
And those applications are taking 9 months to adjudicate. 9 MONTHS! Outrageous.
But why is USCIS forcing people to have to wait on EADs at all? On May 21st, President Biden signed H.R.7691 – Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act. https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/7691/text which passed 86 to 11 in the Senate and 368 to 57 in the House.
That bill states that Ukrainians who come as parolees should be treated as refugees under the new law if they entered the US between February 24, 2022 and September 30, 2023. Specifically, they’re entitled to “benefits available to refugees under section 207.”
@uscis should know that employment authorization is a “benefit” available to refugees. It’s one of the big three you list on the DHS web site. https://www.dhs.gov/providing-immigration-benefits-information
Your regs specifically say that people admitted under Section 207 are authorized to work “incident to status.”
The M-274 handbook for employers specifically says refugees can work with an I-94 and that I-94 can prove ID and employment authorization for up to 90 days and then a social security card and driver’s license are acceptable.
Instead, @uscis is telling people to file I-765s under Section (c)(11) rather than (a)(3) which applies to INA Section 207 refugees. Those people are expected to wait 9 months.
@Uscis is also charging $410 for each of these applications and they’re not supposed to be charging at all. See the I-765 instructions. All fees collected since May 22nd should be refunded.
Why is @uscis defying Congress and the White House which passed legislation nearly two months ago that is designed to ensure Ukrainians don’t have to deal with the nightmarish waits for work cards? There is no delayed effective date on this law so @uscis has been defying the law since May 21st.
And why is @uscis creating a massive extra amount of work for itself (and causing others waiting on EADs to wait even longer) when it has the ability to avoid this whole problem.
Especially when we’re .1% from the lowest unemployment rate in recorded US history.
People are suffering enough dealing with the trauma of what is happening in their country. The studies say not letting them work makes this mental health crisis even worse – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352827322000544
@uscis – We’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume somehow this new law just got missed. You can quickly fix this with an emergency modification of your web site and the M-274 handbook. No need for regs, months-long policy memo drafting or other excuses.
The alternative is to explain this to a judge who can read Public Law 117-128 just like anyone reading this and know you are legally in the wrong. And you’re also morally in the wrong here. Do the right thing. It will be pretty easy to file this suit in a matter of a couple of days.