Delays needlessly place families in financial limbo, says AILA President Jennifer Minear.
A leading association of immigration lawyers has filed a class action lawsuit challenging the extraordinary processing delays on extensions of status and extensions of employment authorization documents (EAD) for H-4 and L-2 nonimmigrant spouses.
“The delays that H-4 and L-2 nonimmigrants are facing needlessly place families in financial limbo,” said Jennifer Minear, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
RELATED: H-4 visa delays are crippling everyday lives for many (March 12, 2021)
The lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) challenging the delays in processing the work permits of spouses of foreign workers on H-1B and L-1 visas was filed by AILA with Wasden Banias, LLP on Monday.
“DHS has the legal tools and authority to grant work authorization to impacted individuals whose financial security is hanging in the balance, and it should immediately begin to use those tools to provide solutions,” Minear said in a press release.
“DHS can and must revoke the unnecessary biometrics requirements for H-4 and L-2 nonimmigrants, provide automatic work authorization while DHS processes EAD renewal requests, and allow EAD applicants to file their renewal applications sooner than 180 days prior to EAD expiration to prevent gaps in work authorization.”
Jesse Bless, AILA’s Director of Federal Litigation, added, “In 2019, the Trump administration implemented a new biometrics requirement for H-4 and L-2 and other dependents seeking to extend their stay in the US.
“These new requirements added to the already extraordinary processing delays—delays that COVID-19 restrictions further exacerbated. The process to attain work authorization should not put families at risk of immense loss of income and instability.”
“There are reasonable and immediate steps that DHS can take to make certain that visa holders meet requirements without imposing needless suffering,” Bless said. “We hope to work with the government on immediate solutions to get these individuals back working.”
A timeline and history of H-4 EAD (January 27, 2021)
Biometrics requirement lengthens H4 EAD processing time considerably (August 12, 2019)
Houston law firm sues USCIS over delay in H4 extension, H4 EAD (June 10, 2019)
DHS to introduce biometric system to cut visa overstays (May 26, 2017)