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Ombudsman Recommendation: Employment Authorization for Asylum Applicants

Impact on the Public

Read the full Recommendation (PDF, 8 pages - 240 KB)

Administration of U.S. immigration laws is a shared responsibility divided among different departments and agencies. There is no doubt that this division sometimes creates challenges for both applicants and immigration officials.  The recommendations in this report address such a challenge: employment authorization for asylum applicants involving what is commonly referred to as the asylum clock.

Stakeholders reported concerns to the Ombudsman’s Office regarding a lack of interagency information sharing and other communication problems involving USCIS and the Immigration Courts, and expressed frustration at the scarcity of public information about how the asylum clock functions and the lack of options available to promptly and effectively resolve asylum clock problems. Supporting feedback from the public, the Ombudsman recommends specific actions that USCIS can take to improve the processing of employment authorization applications for asylum applicants.

Recommendations

On August 26, 2011, the Ombudsman recommended that USCIS take the following actions to improve coordination and communication on issues related to the asylum clock:

  • Engage in ongoing interagency dialogue to clearly define the roles of USCIS and EOIR regarding the asylum clock.
  • Establish more effective internal communication channels to improve coordination on asylum clock issues:
    • Increase communication between USCIS components regarding asylum clock-related issues; and
    • Provide updated asylum clock training to appropriate USCIS personnel.
  • Make asylum clock information easily available to asylum applicants:
    • Provide direct public access to USCIS service centers on asylum clock issues;
    • Allow customers to view their asylum clock online; and
    • Give clear, written notice when a clock has been stopped. 

Status

Read the USCIS Response issued on January 04, 2012.

Last Published Date: December 23, 2013
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