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This article was originally published on February 09, 2022.

The Tahirih Justice Center celebrates yesterday’s court ruling in AsylumWorks v. Mayorkas. It’s a lawsuit that challenged two rules that prevented people seeking asylum from receiving timely work authorization. Tahirih filed the suit jointly with AsylumWorks, The National Immigrant Justice Center, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLC, the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, and Kids in Need of Defense. We also recognize Casa de Maryland and the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project for their pioneering effort in this fight. The organizations challenged the rules that severely restricted access to work authorization, and they argued that these policies were not valid because Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf announced them when he was not officially appointed as DHS Secretary. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia concluded that “Wolf’s ascension to the office of Acting Secretary was unlawful.”

“This decision restores the critical ability of countless survivors of gender-based violence to work, and thus be independent and provide for their families, while their asylum applications are pending—a process that often takes many years,” said Richard Caldarone, Senior Litigation Counsel at the Tahirih Justice Center. “It also makes clear that the government remains obligated to promptly decide survivors’ requests for work authorization rather than leaving them in bureaucratic limbo for months or years. The decision takes arbitrary and punitive restrictions on work permanently off the books. We applaud the court’s decision and look forward to its immediate implementation.”

This ruling also more broadly recognizes that the government cannot circumvent the process for filling executive-branch positions that require Senate confirmation. Tahirih and other partner organizations will continue to challenge any rulings that were issued and implemented illegally by the previous administration.


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