Biden Gives Another Major Boost To Immigrants

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

( – The Biden administration is set to announce an extension of work permits for specific groups of immigrants on Thursday, an action aimed at preventing the sudden job loss of hundreds of thousands of individuals. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will issue a temporary final rule in the Federal Register, which extends the validity of Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) from the current 180 days to 540 days. This extension will apply to eligible immigrants whose EADs expired since October 27, ensuring they can continue working in the United States while their renewal applications are processed.

This regulatory change comes in the wake of increased application volumes that have strained the processing capabilities of USCIS. By extending the validity of EADs, the administration seeks to mitigate the risk of employment disruption for immigrants and address processing delays within USCIS. This measure is particularly critical for asylum-seekers and foreign nationals who are in the process of obtaining permanent residency, with an estimated 800,000 immigrants facing the risk of losing their work authorization without this new rule.

The extension to 540 days is part of the Biden administration’s broader effort to improve the efficiency and responsiveness of immigration services. USCIS has been working to rebuild its processing capacity, which was impacted by policy shifts under the previous administration that prioritized other aspects of immigration control over application processing. Despite these challenges, USCIS has made significant strides in reducing the backlog of asylum applications, marking progress for the first time in a decade.

The decision to extend the EAD validity period again to 540 days follows previous actions taken by the Biden administration to stabilize the work authorization process for immigrants. This approach provides a safety net for workers and employers alike, ensuring that immigrants can remain employed and businesses can maintain their workforce without interruption.

The rule, which becomes effective on April 8, retroactively applies the 540-day extension to EADs that would have expired after the October deadline. This proactive measure has been met with relief and appreciation from various stakeholders, including immigrant communities, business leaders, and advocacy groups, who have expressed concerns about the potential economic and social impact of widespread work authorization expirations.

The extension is a temporary but essential step in addressing the immediate needs of the immigrant workforce and the businesses that employ them, offering a reprieve from the uncertainties of immigration processing delays and providing a more stable environment for those affected.

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