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Work permits for CASA members with pending asylum claims

This information is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  For legal advice on your particular case, consult an attorney.

On September 11, 2020, a federal judge in the case CASA de Maryland v. Wolf blocked the government from applying many–but not all–of the new work permit rules for asylum seekers to members of CASA and ASAP only. The new rules still apply to people that are not members of CASA or ASAP and who filed a work permit application on or after August 25, 2020. See this page for more detailed description of the new rules and which ones do and do not apply to CASA members.

Below are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the case and its impact on CASA members.

Q1: What did the court do in CASA de Maryland v. Wolf

In June 2020, the government published a lot of new rules that change how the government processes employment authorization document (EAD) applications based on pending asylum applications. In CASA de Maryland v. Wolf, the court blocked the government from applying many–but not all–of those rules to members of CASA and members of ASAP. 

Case documents and opinions include: 1) Complaint filed on 07/21/20 in the District of Maryland; 2) Motion for Stay or Preliminary Injunction filed on 07/24/20 3) Court Opinion issued on 09/11/20, enjoining enforcement of some rule changes.

Q2: Does the court’s order in CASA de Maryland v. Wolf apply to everyone?

No. The court’s order only applies to members of CASA and ASAP. All of the new rules will apply to everyone else. 

Q3: Do I need to be a member of both ASAP and CASA? 

No. You can be a member of either ASAP or CASA. It is not necessary to be a member of both organizations to benefit from the court order. 

Q4: How can I become a CASA member? 

CASA membership identification cards are processed in person at a CASA Welcome Center. If you are unable to access a Welcome Center, you may process your membership with CASA remotely. Please complete the contact information requested in the CASA membership interest form (link here), and a membership specialist will contact you with next steps. Please do not send cash or payments by mail before speaking to a membership specialist first.      

Q5: I am a CASA member. Is there anything I need to do to get the benefit of the court order?  

YES. It is important to remember that the government will not know who is a member of CASA or ASAP. Members must prove they are members to benefit from the court’s order. 

To benefit from the court’s order, CASA members must submit proof of CASA membership with their work permit application. 

Q6: How do I prove I am a member of CASA? 

You can prove you are a member by submitting either a) a membership verification letter or b) a copy of your CASA membership card. If you need a membership verification letter, please call 1-866-765-2272 and indicate that you need to obtain a membership verification letter.

Q7: How long does it take to receive a membership card or verification letter? 

CASA should be able to process your application for a membership and mail your card or verification letter to your listed address within two weeks. We appreciate your patience!

Q8: What if I am a minor (under 18 years old)? Does the court’s order apply to me?

Yes, if one or both of your parents are members. To benefit from the court order, minors must submit: 1) verification of membership from one or both of their parents and 2)  a copy of their birth certificate to prove the relationship. 

Q9: Did the court block all of the work permit rules for CASA members? 

No. The court’s order blocked some of the new rules but not all of them. CASA members may be ineligible for a work permit on the basis of one or more rules that were not blocked by the court. CASA strongly suggests that everyone consult with an attorney to evaluate their individual case. 

Q10: What does the court’s order in CASA de Maryland v. Wolf mean for me as a CASA member?

If you are an CASA member:

  • You may apply for a work permit 150 days after filing a complete asylum application, and become eligible to receive a work permit 180 days after filing a complete asylum application.
  • USCIS must deem your asylum application complete if it has been pending with USCIS 30 days or more, ensuring you can request a work permit 150 days after submitting your asylum application.
  • USCIS must process your work permit application within 30 days.
  • You will be eligible for a work permit even if you have filed an asylum application more than a year after arriving in the United States.
  • You DO NOT need to pay a $85 biometrics fee for the work permit application. 
  • USCIS should grant your work permit application if you meet all of the requirements. USCIS may not consider any discretionary factors when processing your application.

Q11: I recently became an CASA member. Does the court’s order in CASA de Maryland v. Wolf apply to me?

CASA members with pending asylum claims are entitled to have their applications processed under the court’s order in CASA v. Wolf as long as they submit proof of membership with their application for a work permit.

If you have already applied for a work permit and did not submit proof of your CASA membership with your application, your application may be rejected and will not be processed under the terms of the court order.  If your application is rejected, you should follow the instructions to resubmit your application with proof of CASA membership.

Q12: I already applied for a work permit but I did not submit proof of my CASA membership. What will happen to my application? 

CASA has tried to identify members in this situation by sending a survey and requesting that members fill it out. If you: a) filled out this survey b) provided your “A number” and c) gave us permission to share your membership status with the government, then we have identified you as a CASA member and your EAD application should be processed under the court’s order. 

If you did not fill out the survey or did not provide the necessary information, CASA strongly advises that you re-submit your EAD application in full and include proof of membership with your application. If you do not re-submit your work permit application with proof of CASA membership, USCIS may reject and return your application.

Q13: Can CASA help me fill out my application for a work permit or represent me in my asylum case?

Unfortunately, CASA does not generally have the capacity to assist with new work permit applications or represent our members in their asylum cases at this time.  CASA can, however, provide you with a list of referrals in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia area.

You can find non-profit organizations in your area by entering your zip code in this online directory. You can also access a directory of private attorneys.

If you cannot find an attorney or organization to help you, you can complete and submit your application for a work permit on your own by carefully following the instructions available on the USCIS website.