UPCOMING DEADLINE: Mendez Rojas Class Settlement - April 22, 2022
Your client may benefit from the settlement agreement in Mendez Rojas v. Wolf!
The one-year asylum bar has prevented many people from getting asylum—including those who would otherwise be eligible. In Mendez Rojas, et al. v. Wolf, et al., No. 2:16- cv-01024-RSM (W.D. Wash.), plaintiffs challenged the government’s failure to provide adequate notice of this one-year filing deadline to certain asylum seekers who were in the custody of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shortly after their last arrival. The lawsuit also challenged the government’s failure to provide a mechanism that allows asylum seekers to file their asylum applications in a timely manner.
On November 4, 2020, the District Court for the Western District of Washington State, adopted the final settlement agreement reached between the parties in the case. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the government: (1) agreed to provide adequate notice of the one-year filing deadline to asylum seekers going forward; (2) agreed to create a uniform procedural mechanism (UPM) that would allow asylum seekers to timely file their asylum applications in the future; and (3) agreed to provide relief for certain asylum seekers who were harmed because of the government’s failure to provide adequate notice of the one-year filing deadline in the past.
Therefore, certain asylum seekers who applied for asylum more than one year after they entered the United States, and certain asylum seekers who have already been in the United States over one year and have not yet applied for asylum, may have their asylum applications considered timely filed under the settlement agreement.
To benefit from the final settlement agreement, an individual must be a member of one of the two classes certified in the case, as modified by the final settlement agreement, & importantly, a class member must come forward to establish their class membership and request relief under the settlement on or before April 22, 2022. This means that individuals have until April 22, 2022 to notify the appropriate immigration agency that they are class members, and to apply for asylum, if they have not yet done so.
If your client was detained by the DHS shortly after their last arrival to the U.S., and their asylum application was filed or will be filed after the one year deadline, they may be a class member and could benefit under the final settlement agreement by taking the required steps before the April 22, 2022 deadline. If you have any questions about your client’s eligibility for protection under the settlement agreement and/or next steps for notifying the appropriate agency, please contact your PAIR mentor as soon as possible.
NEW: Address for I-589 filings for NE residents has changed
USCIS has updated its filing address for residents of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont who are filing affirmative asylum applications (I-589). However, please note that the filing location for I-589s of unaccompanied children (“UACs”) has NOT changed. All other affirmative I-589 applications for NE residents should now be filed with the:
California Service Center
P.O. Box 10881
Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-0881
If sending by FedEx, UPS, or DHL:
USCIS California Service Center
24000 Avila Road
2nd Floor, Room 2312
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Final Rules Impacting Access to Work Authorization for Asylum Applicants VACATED
PAIR is excited to share that on Feb. 7, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in the case Asylumworks, et. al. v. Alejandro N. Mayorkas, et. al., ruled that two rules issued by the Trump administration restricting — and in some cases eliminating — access to work authorization for asylum seekers were illegally issued and therefore invalid. The rules vacated, which became effective in August of 2020, include the “Timeline Repeal Rule” (which eliminated the 30-day adjudication window for initial work card applications filed by asylum applicants), and the Asylum Application, Interview, and Employment Authorization for Applicants rule, which imposed more than a dozen substantive restrictions on work card applications. Effective immediately, USCIS has ceased applying these rules to work card applications filed by asylum applicants under category (c)(8), pending asylum. Instead, USCIS is reverting to the rules in place prior to August 2020. This means, among other things, that asylum seekers applying for employment authorization under category (c)(8) will not need to seek ASAP membership to overcome new bars imposed by the rule. Also, effective immediately, asylum seekers applying for employment authorization under category (c)(8) should not submit the $85 biometric services fee with their work card application (Form I-765). Please speak with your PAIR mentor if you have any questions and stay updated by checking USCIS’ website at: https://www.uscis.gov/i-765.
Thank you for your dedication to PAIR and PAIR clients!