Amidst the media's preoccupation with the shutdown, little was made of the Supreme Court's decision last week not to hear arguments on DACA this term. Unless the high court were to deviate from its normal procedure, this means that arguments will not likely be heard until its next term, assuming the case is taken up. As a consequence, and in light of pending litigation, current DACA recipients (and those who previously had DACA status) may continue to file for deferred action status at least through the end of 2019. The courts are still deciding whether individuals who never filed for DACA can file initial applications for the first time, but for those who have already filed and were granted DACA status, applications for renewal must still be accepted by USCIS pursuant to two federal court orders.
One of the most frustrating aspects of immigration practice is dealing with government delay-something which, more often than not, is a given these days. Family adjustment of status cases used to relatively quick, but we have noticed a significant lag in processing times recently. For all practical purposes, most people will have to patiently endure the wait until their case is adjudicated. Fortunately, the regulations do provide some interim relief in the way of work authorization: many adjustment applicants may apply for an employment authorization document ("EAD") on Form I-765 that will allow them to work legally and apply for social security numbers while their cases are pending. What happens, though, if the work permit application itself is taking an excessively long time to process? One of the most common questions we get is whether there is any way to speed up the process.
One of the most pressing questions that prospective permanent residents here in the US often ask is, "When Can I Start Working?" Within the context of family-based adjustment of status cases--which is what this is discussion is limited to--this topic is rife with misunderstanding. Many people, to their detriment, misunderstand the difference between applying for adjustment of status and being authorized to work.