[Federal Register Volume 89, Number 73 (Monday, April 15, 2024)]

[Notices]

[Pages 26167-26170]

From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

[FR Doc No: 2024-07866]

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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

[CIS No. 2771-24; DHS Docket No. USCIS-2024-0001; RIN 1615-ZC08]

Implementation of Employment Authorization for Individuals

Covered by Deferred Enforced Departure for Certain Palestinians

AGENCY: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Department

of Homeland Security (DHS).

ACTION: Notice of employment authorization for individuals covered by

Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).

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SUMMARY: On February 14, 2024, President Joseph Biden issued a

memorandum to the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland

Security (Secretary) determining that it was in the foreign policy

interest of the United States to defer for 18 months, the removal of

certain Palestinians present in the United States and to provide them

with employment authorization documentation. The memorandum directed

the Secretary to make provision for immediate allowance of employment

authorization for such individuals. This notice provides information

about Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Palestinians and provides

information on how eligible individuals may apply for DED-based

Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) with USCIS, as well as for

travel authorization.

DATES: DED for eligible Palestinian noncitizens covered by this notice

began on February 14, 2024, and ends on August 13, 2025.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

You may contact Ren[aacute] Cutlip-Mason, Chief,

Humanitarian Affairs Division, Office of Policy and Strategy, U.S.

Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security,

by mail at 5900 Capital Gateway Drive, Camp Springs, MD 20746, or by

phone at 240-721-3000.

For further information on DED, including additional

information on eligibility, please visit the USCIS DED web page at

https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/deferred-enforced-departure. You can

find specific information about DED for certain Palestinians by

selecting ``Individuals Covered by DED--Palestinian Territories'' from

the menu on the left of the DED web page.

If you have additional questions about DED, please visit

https://www.uscis.gov/tools. Our online virtual assistant, Emma, can

answer many of your questions and point you to additional information

on our website. If you are unable to find your answers there, you may

also call our USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833).

Applicants seeking information about the status of their

individual I-765, EAD Application for Employment Authorization, or I-

131, Application for Travel Document, cases may check Case Status

Online, available on the USCIS website at https://www.uscis.gov, or

visit the USCIS Contact Center at https://www.uscis.gov/contactcenter.

Further information will also be available at local USCIS

offices upon publication of this Notice.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Definitions

For the purposes of this notice, USCIS intends to cover non-U.S.

citizens of any nationality, or without nationality, who are

Palestinian. USCIS will evaluate claims for DED employment

authorization and advance travel authorization based on authentic

documents,\1\ regardless of validity period \2\ or expiration,

indicating the applicant is Palestinian, including, but not limited to:

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\1\ On June 14, 2007, Hamas, designated as a foreign terrorist

organization by the Secretary of State in accordance with section

219 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1189, took de facto administrative control

of Gaza, including issuance of civil documents for the territory.

USCIS will not accept identity documents issued by Hamas after June

14, 2007, unless verified by the Palestinian Authority in the West

Bank.

\2\ The term validity period is used in reference to the length

of time a document can be used for purposes of travel or

identification prior to the expiration date.

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a Palestinian Authority Passport;

a Palestinian Authority Identification Card;

a Birth Certificate or Birth Extract verified or issued by

a recognized governmental authority identifying the holder as having

been born in the Palestinian Territories;

an identification document issued by a third country, the

United Nations, its specialized agencies and related organizations, or

the International Committee of the Red Cross, indicating the holder is

a Palestinian; or

[[Page 26168]]

a travel document issued by a third country, the United

Nations, its specialized agencies and related organizations, or the

International Committee of the Red Cross, identifying the holder as a

Palestinian.

Table of Abbreviations

CFR--Code of Federal Regulations

DED--Deferred Enforced Departure

DHS--U.S. Department of Homeland Security

EAD--Employment Authorization Document

FNC--Final Non-confirmation

Form I-131--Application for Travel Document

Form I-765--Application for Employment Authorization

Form I-797--Notice of Action

Form I-9--Employment Eligibility Verification

Form I-912--Request for Fee Waiver

Form I-94--Arrival/Departure Record

FR--Federal Register

Government--U.S. Government

IER--U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Immigrant

and Employee Rights Section

INA--Immigration and Nationality Act

SAVE--USCIS Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program

Secretary--Secretary of Homeland Security

TTY--Text Telephone

USCIS--U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

U.S.C.--United States Code

Purpose of This Action

Pursuant to the President's constitutional authority to conduct the

foreign relations of the United States, President Biden has determined

that it is in the foreign policy interest of the United States to defer

through August 13, 2025, the removal of certain Palestinians who have

resided in the United States since February 14, 2024.\3\ Through this

Notice, as directed by the President, DHS is establishing procedures

for Palestinian individuals covered by DED to apply for EADs valid

through August 13, 2025. Employment authorization and the procedures

for obtaining EADs in this Notice apply to any of the following

individuals who are not subject to any of the ineligibilities described

in President Biden's February 14, 2024 memorandum to the Secretaries of

State and Homeland Security: Palestinians, regardless of place of birth

or country or area of last habitual residence, who have resided in the

United States since February 14, 2024. Palestinians must meet all

eligibility criteria, including required documentation, for DED

described in this Notice. Finally, this Notice provides instructions

for eligible Palestinians in the United States on how to request

advance travel authorization.

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\3\ See Deferred Enforced Departure for Certain Palestinians, 89

FR 12743 (Feb. 14, 2024); Memorandum for the Secretary of State and

the Secretary of Homeland Security, Deferred Enforced Departure for

Certain Palestinians, February 14, 2024, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2024/02/14/memorandum-on-the-deferred-enforced-departure-for-certain-palestinians/.

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What is Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)?

DED is an administrative deferral of removal ordered by

the President. The authority to extend DED arises from the President's

constitutional authority to conduct the foreign relations of the United

States. DED has been authorized in situations where certain groups of

noncitizens may face danger if required to return to countries or any

part of such foreign countries experiencing political instability,

conflict, or other unsafe conditions, or when there are other foreign

policy reasons for allowing a designated group of noncitizens to remain

in the United States temporarily.

Although DED is not a specific immigration status and does

not require an application to be filed with USCIS, individuals covered

by DED are not subject to removal from the United States, usually for a

designated period. Furthermore, the President may direct that the

Secretary of Homeland Security provide that certain benefits that are

authorized under the immigration laws, such as employment

authorization, be made available to the noncitizens covered by the DED

directive during the designated period.

USCIS publishes a Federal Register notice to inform the

covered population on how to apply for any benefits provided. See

instructions for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

The eligibility requirements for individuals who are

covered by DED are based on the terms of the President's directive

regarding DED and any relevant implementing requirements established by

DHS. Since DED is a directive to defer removal of an individual, rather

than a specific immigration status like Temporary Protected Status,

there is no DED application form required for an individual to be

covered by DED. If an individual covered by DED wants to apply for an

EAD, they must file Form I-765, Application for Employment

Authorization. Similarly, should an individual covered by DED want to

apply for advance travel authorization, they must file Form I-131,

Application for Travel Document.

Ur M. Jaddou,

Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Eligibility and Employment Authorization for DED

How will I know if I am eligible for employment authorization under the

DED Presidential Memorandum for Certain Palestinians?

Consistent with the President's February 14, 2024, DED

memorandum,\4\ the procedures for employment authorization in this

Notice apply to non-U.S. citizens who are Palestinians who were present

in the United States on February 14, 2024, except for those:

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\4\ See 89 FR at 12743.

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Who have voluntarily returned to the Palestinian

Territories after February 14, 2024;

Who have not continuously resided in the United States

since February 14, 2024;

Who are inadmissible under 212(a)(3) of the Immigration

and Nationality Act (INA) (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(3)) or deportable under

section 237(a)(4) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(4));

Who have been convicted of any felony or two or more

misdemeanors committed in the United States, or who meet any of the

criteria set forth in section 208(b)(2)(A) of the INA (8 U.S.C.

1158(b)(2)(A));

Who are subject to extradition;

Whose presence in the United States the Secretary of

Homeland Security has determined is not in the interest of the United

States or presents a danger to public safety; or

Whose presence in the United States the Secretary of State

has reasonable grounds to believe would have potentially serious

adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States.

What will I need to file if I am covered by DED and would like to

obtain an EAD?

If you are a Palestinian covered by DED and want a DED-based EAD,

you must file Form I-765. Please carefully follow the Form I-765

instructions when completing the application for an EAD. When filing

the Form I-765, you must:

Indicate that you are eligible for DED by entering

``(a)(11)'' in response to Question 27 on the Form I-765; and

Submit the fee for the Form I-765 (or request a fee

waiver, which you may submit on Form I-912, Request for Fee

[[Page 26169]]

Waiver).\5\ See Fee Schedule (Form G-1055).

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\5\ On January 31, 2024, DHS published a final rule that adjusts

certain fees, including Form I-131 and the Form I-765, that went

into effect on April 1, 2024. See U.S. Citizenship and Immigration

Services Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigration

Benefit Request Requirements, 89 FR 6194 (Jan. 31, 2024) (effective

Apr. 1, 2024). Additional information about the rule is available on

the USCIS website. Frequently Asked Questions on the USCIS Fee Rule,

USCIS, https://www.uscis.gov/forms/filing-fees/frequently-asked-questions-on-the-uscis-fee-rule (last visited Feb. 7, 2024).

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Supporting Documentation

The filing instructions on Form I-765 list all the documents needed

to apply. You may also find information on the initial required

documents on the USCIS website at https://www.uscis.gov/i-765. If USCIS

determines after reviewing your submission that it needs additional

information, it will send you a Request for Evidence (RFE).

How will I know if I must submit my biometrics to USCIS?

If biometrics are required to produce your EAD, you will receive a

biometrics services appointment notice with the time and location of

your appointment. You can prepare for your biometrics appointment by

visiting the Preparing for Your Biometric Appointment web page at

https://www.uscis.gov/forms/filing-guidance/preparing-for-your-biometric-services-appointment and ensure that you bring valid photo

identification to your appointment.

Where do I find the fees for DED applicants?

You can find filing fees by visiting Form G-1055, Fee Schedule at

https://www.uscis.gov/g-1055 for the most current fees for DED

applicants for the Form I-765 and Form I-131. No biometrics fees are

required at the time of filing.

Where do I submit my completed DED-based Form I-765, Application for

Employment Authorization?

For a DED-based EAD, mail your completed Form I-765 and supporting

documentation to the proper address in Table 1.

Table 1--Mailing Addresses

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If you are . . . Mail to . . .

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Using the U.S. Postal Service (USPS)...... USCIS, Attn: DED for

Palestinians, P.O. Box

805283, Chicago, IL 60680-

5283.

Using FedEx, UPS, or DHL.................. USCIS, Attn: DED for

Palestinians, (Box 805283),

131 South Dearborn Street,

3rd Floor, Chicago, IL

60603-5517.

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You may file Form I-765 and Form I-131, Application for Travel

Document, together or separately. If you are filing multiple

applications, petitions, or requests, USCIS recommends sending separate

payments for each application, otherwise if one payment is submitted

and one of the applications, petitions, or requests is rejected, all

others will be rejected as well. More information on filing a Form I-

131 appears below.

Can I file my DED-based Form I-765 electronically?

No. Electronic filing is not available when filing a DED-based Form

I-765.

What happens after August 13, 2025, to DED-based EADs?

This DED authorization is set to end on August 13, 2025. After that

date, employers can no longer accept EADs with the notation A-11 under

Category and a Card Expires date of August 13, 2025. Employees will

need to present other evidence of continued work authorization.

Travel

Palestinians covered by DED may also apply for and be granted

travel authorization as a matter of discretion. You must file for

travel authorization if you wish to travel outside of the United States

and be eligible to seek re-entry to the United States. If USCIS grants

travel authorization, it generally gives you permission to leave the

United States and return during a specific period. To request travel

authorization, you must file Form I-131, available at https://www.uscis.gov/i-131. You may file Form I-131 together with your Form I-

765 or separately. When filing the Form I-131, you must:

Select Item Number 1.d. in Part 2 on the Form I-131; and

Submit the fee for the Form I-131.

If you leave the United States without first receiving travel

authorization, you may no longer be eligible for DED and may not be

permitted to reenter the United States. Please also be advised that if

you return to the Palestinian Territories, even with advance travel

authorization, you may not be permitted to resume DED in the United

States since the presidential memorandum providing for DED for

Palestinians excludes individuals who have voluntarily returned to the

Palestinian Territories after the date of the memorandum.\6\

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\6\ See 89 FR at 12743.

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Mailing Information

Mail your completed Form I-131 to the proper address provided in

Table 1.

Supporting Documentation

The filing instructions for Form I-131 list all the documents you

need to include with your application. You may also find information on

the acceptable documentation and DED eligibility on the USCIS website

at https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/deferred-enforced-departure. If

USCIS needs additional evidence, it will issue you an RFE.

General Employment-Related Information for Individuals With DED-Based

EADs and Their Employers

How can I obtain information on the status of my EAD request?

To get case status information about your DED-based EAD request,

you can check Case Status Online at https://www.uscis.gov, or visit the

USCIS Contact Center at https://www.uscis.gov/contactcenter. If your

Form I-765 has been pending for more than 90 days, and you still need

assistance, you may ask a question about your case online at https://egov.uscis.gov/e-request/Intro.do or call the USCIS Contact Center at

800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833).

When I am hired, what documentation may I show to my employer as

evidence of identity and employment authorization when completing Form

I-9?

You can find the Lists of Acceptable Documents on Form I-9,

Employment Eligibility Verification, as well as the Acceptable

Documents web page at https://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central/acceptable-documents. Employers must complete Form I-9 to verify the identity and

employment authorization of all new employees. Within three days of

hire, employees must present acceptable documents to their employers as

evidence of identity and employment authorization to satisfy Form I-9

requirements.

You may present any documentation from List A (which provides

evidence of both identity and employment authorization) or

documentation from List B (which provides evidence of your identity)

together with documentation from List C (which provides evidence of

employment authorization), or you may

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present an acceptable receipt as described in the Form I-9

Instructions. Employers may not reject a document based on a future

expiration date. You can find additional information about Form I-9 on

the I-9 Central web page at https://www.uscis.gov/I-9Central. An EAD is

an acceptable document under List A.

If I have an EAD based on another immigration status, can I obtain a

new DED-based EAD?

Yes, if you are covered by DED, you can obtain a new DED-based EAD,

even if you already have an EAD or employment authorization based on

another immigration status. If you want to obtain a DED-based EAD valid

through August 13, 2025, you must file Form I-765 and pay the

associated fee (unless USCIS grants your fee waiver request).\7\

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\7\ For information about filing fee waiver requests including

through Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, see https://www.uscis.gov/forms/filing-fees/additional-information-on-filing-a-fee-waiver.

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Can my employer require that I provide any other documentation to

complete Form I-9, such as evidence of my status or proof of my

Palestinian identity?

No. When completing Form I-9, employers must accept any unexpired

documentation that appears on the Form I-9 Lists of Acceptable

Documents that reasonably appears to be genuine and that relates to

you, or an acceptable List A, List B, or List C receipt. Employers may

not request proof of Palestinian identity when completing Form I-9 for

new hires or reverifying the employment authorization of current

employees. Refer to the ``Note to Employees'' section of this Federal

Register notice for important information about your rights if your

employer rejects lawful documentation, requires additional

documentation, or otherwise discriminates against you based on your

citizenship or immigration status, or your national origin.

Note to All Employers

Employers are reminded that the laws requiring proper employment

eligibility verification and prohibiting unfair immigration-related

employment practices remain in full force. This Federal Register notice

does not supersede or in any way limit applicable employment

verification rules and policy guidance, including those rules setting

forth reverification requirements. For general questions about the

employment eligibility verification process, employers may call USCIS

at 888-464-4218 (TTY 877-875-6028) or email USCIS at I-9Central@dhs.gov. USCIS accepts calls and emails in English and many

other languages. For questions about avoiding discrimination during the

employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9 and E-Verify),

employers may call the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights

Division, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) Employer Hotline

at 800-255-8155 (TTY 800-237-2515). IER offers language interpretation

in numerous languages. Employers may also email IER at IER@usdoj.gov or

get more information online at https://www.justice.gov/ier.

Note to Employees

For general questions about the employment eligibility verification

process, employees may call USCIS at 888-897-7781 (TTY 877-875-6028) or

email USCIS at I-9Central@dhs.gov. USCIS accepts calls in English,

Spanish and many other languages. Employees or applicants may also call

the IER Worker Hotline at 800-255-7688 (TTY 800-237-2515) for

information regarding employment discrimination based upon citizenship,

immigration status, or national origin, including discrimination

related to Form I-9 and E-Verify. The IER Worker Hotline provides

language interpretation in numerous languages.

To comply with the law, employers must accept any document or

combination of documents from the Lists of Acceptable Documents if the

documentation reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to the

employee, or an acceptable List A, List B, or List C receipt as

described in the Form I-9 instructions. Employers may not require extra

or additional documentation beyond what is required for Form I-9

completion. Further, employers participating in E-Verify who receive an

E-Verify case result of ``Tentative Non-confirmation'' (mismatch) must

promptly inform employees of the mismatch and give such employees an

opportunity to take action to resolve the mismatch. A mismatch means

that the information entered into E-Verify from Form I-9 differs from

records available to DHS.

Employers may not terminate, suspend, delay training, withhold or

lower pay, or take any adverse action against an employee because of a

mismatch while the case is still pending with E-Verify. A Final Non-

confirmation (FNC) case result occurs if E-Verify cannot confirm an

employee's employment eligibility. An employer may terminate employment

based on a case result of FNC. Work-authorized employees who receive a

FNC may call USCIS for assistance at 888-897-7781 (TTY 877-875-6028).

For more information about E-Verify-related discrimination or to report

an employer for discrimination in the E-Verify process based on

citizenship, immigration status, or national origin, contact IER's

Worker Hotline at 800-255-7688 (TTY 800-237-2515). Additional

information about proper nondiscriminatory Form I-9 and E-Verify

procedures is available on the IER website at https://www.justice.gov/ier and the USCIS and E-Verify websites at https://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central and https://www.e-verify.gov.

Note Regarding Federal, State, and Local Government Agencies (Such as

Departments of Motor Vehicles)

Whether you are applying for a Federal, state, or local government

benefit, you may need to provide the government agency with documents

that show you are covered under DED and/or authorized to work based on

DED. Check with the government agency requesting documentation about

which documents the agency will accept.

Some government agencies use SAVE to confirm the current

immigration status of applicants for public benefits and licenses. SAVE

can verify that an individual is covered by DED based on an EAD with

category A-11 and/or Form I-797, Notice of Action, reflecting approval

of your Form I-765 for an EAD with a DED category code of A-11. In most

cases, SAVE provides an automated electronic response to benefit-

granting agencies within seconds, but occasionally verification can be

delayed.

You can check the status of your SAVE verification by using

CaseCheck at https://www.uscis.gov/save/save-casecheck. CaseCheck is a

free service that lets you follow the progress of your SAVE

verification case using your date of birth and one immigration

identifier number (such as your A-Number or USCIS number) or

Verification Case Number. If an agency has denied your application

based solely or in part on a SAVE response, the agency must allow you

to appeal the decision in accordance with the agency's procedures. If

the agency has received and acted on or will act on a SAVE verification

and you do not believe the SAVE response is correct, the SAVE website,

https://www.uscis.gov/save, has detailed information on how to correct

or update your immigration record, make an appointment, or submit a

written request to correct records.

[FR Doc. 2024-07866 Filed 4-12-24; 11:15 am]

BILLING CODE 9111-97-P