DearColleague.us

Letter

Joaquin Castro

From the office of:

Joaquin Castro

Sending Office: Honorable Joaquin Castro
Sent By:
Estefania.Rodriguez@mail.house.gov

AUTOMATICALLY EXTEND

EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION DOCUMENTS (EAD)

*Updated language to reflect new findings by the Center for American Progress that over 200,000 DACA recipients are in occupations and industry groups that render them “essential critical infrastructure workers” according to DHS guidance.

Deadline: April 9 at Noon

(31) Cosigners:  McGovern, Panetta, “Chuy” García, N. Velázquez, Pocan, Holmes Norton, Espaillat, Hayes, Sanchez, Grijalva, Correa, Escobar, Chu, Cardenas, Lofgren, Lee, Blumenauer, Schakowsky, Nadler, Wasserman Schultz, Speier, Napolitano,
Kaptur, Green, Maloney, Clarke, Gallego, Neguse, Cleaver, Pressley

To add your boss, please use: GOOGLE Form

We invite you to join this letter urging DHS to automatically extend employment authorization for all immigrants whose employment authorization documents (EADs) expire within one year of the date of this letter or 90 days after rescission of the March 13,
2020, presidential proclamation for COVID-19, language that was included in the House version of the CARES Act.

The widespread job losses combined with the vital federal, state, and local measures enacted to combat COVID-19 erected significant barriers for current EAD holders, especially DACA recipients, seeking to renew. USCIS office closures, a rise in telework
for adjudicators, and other COVID-19 related delays will increase the likelihood that applicants will face work permit expiration before approval
and therefore become unemployed.  At least 270 million people in 33 states, DC and Puerto Rico are under “stay at home” orders, meaning that immigrants cannot leave their homes to collect supporting documents, print and prepare, and mail their applications.

Continued employment authorization will ensure that breadwinners can support their families during this pandemic, afford critically needed medical care, and support our nation in its economic recovery. Extending work authorization to immigrants, including
DACA recipients and TPS holders, not only benefits immigrant youth, but our  communities, and the nation’s continued economic recovery.

If you have any questions, please reach out to
Estefania.rodriguez@mail.house.gov
.

Dear Acting Secretary Wolf and Senior Official Cuccinelli:

We write to respectfully request that, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) automatically extend, for the same duration as the previous grant, employment authorization for all immigrants (including
Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders) whose employment authorization documents (EADs) expire within one year of the date of this letter or 90 days after rescission of the March 13, 2020, presidential proclamation,
Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak. Responding to COVID-19 requires a nationwide response, and the widespread job losses and vital federal, state, and local measures enacted to combat
COVID-19 erected significant barriers for current EAD holders, especially DACA recipients, seeking to renew. Support of DACA recipients during the current pandemic is particularly critical as over 200,000 DACA recipients are employed are in occupations and
industry groups that render them “essential critical infrastructure workers” according to DHS guidance.

On March 18, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) partially or entirely closed its offices and instituted telework for many procedures for many adjudicators. We commend USCIS for its recent policy announcement that it would reuse
existing biometrics and continue to adjudicate EAD applications. However, USCIS’ closure of offices, increase in telework for adjudicators, and other COVID-19 related delays will undoubtedly worsen already existing adjudication backlogs, increasing the likelihood
that applicants, including DACA recipients, will face work permit expiration before approval. 

At least 270 million people in 33 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are under “stay at home” orders, meaning that immigrants cannot leave their homes to collect supporting documents, print and prepare, and mail their applications.
Immigrants, including DACA recipients, also face significant obstacles in preparing their renewal requests, particularly in light of the closure of the non-profit legal organizations and law firms. Immigrants or those with family members impacted by COVID-19
may also not have an opportunity to apply for renewal because of the need to prioritize health care and recovery; or the ability to physically prepare a request due to health ill health. Finally, the worsening economic situation driven by COVID-19, including
the loss of jobs and decrease in investments and savings due to stock market volatility, means that immigrants may not have income or savings to pay the filing fee for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

We commend USCIS for reusing previously submitted biometrics in adjudicating applications for work authorization. Nevertheless, automatic extensions are still needed because of the barriers identified above, including COVID-19-related exacerbation
of adjudication backlogs and delays; financial difficulties to pay filing fees; closure of legal service providers; shelter in place orders; and more. Continued employment authorization will ensure that breadwinners can support their families during this pandemic,
afford critically needed medical care, and support our nation in its economic recovery. Extending work authorization to immigrants, including DACA recipients and TPS holders, not only benefits immigrant youth, but our  communities, and the nation’s continued
economic recovery.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. We request a response within 15 days and you may contact Alma Acosta at alma.acosta@mail.house.gov. 

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Government, Homeland Security, Immigration, Judiciary, Labor

icon eDC logo e-Dear Colleague version 2.0
 
e-Dear Colleagues are intended for internal House use only.