President Donald Trump’s administration announced Friday that it will eliminate the rule that requires immigration authorities to respond within 30 days to initial work permit applications submitted by people seeking asylum in the United States.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said in a statement that the change, which will take effect Aug. 21, “provides greater flexibility in processing initial employment authorization documents for persons seeking asylum.

USCIS imposed the rule more than 20 years ago and, according to the agency, “since then asylum applications have increased dramatically and USCIS has developed additional critical background check procedures to reduce fraud and identify threats to national security and public order.

Emma Winger, an attorney with the American Immigration Council, told Efe that “for first-time applicants, the 30-day deadline is very important, especially for newcomers who need to support themselves.

“With the new rule, the government has eliminated any time limit for processing the initial authorization,” she added. “They can take as long as they want.

USCIS Deputy Director Joseph Edlow said in a statement that the “elimination of a self-imposed processing time frame gives the agency the operational flexibility in conducting the systematic identity analysis and verification procedures that citizens expect from an agency charged with protecting national security.

“A key priority of USCIS is safeguarding our nation’s legal immigration system from those who would seek to exploit or abuse it,” the official added. “This change will reduce opportunities for fraud and protect the security-related paperwork we apply for each work permit application, thereby increasing the integrity of immigration benefits.

Another change in USCIS rules, announced today, eliminates the requirement that asylum seekers submit work permit renewal requests to the agency 90 days before their current permits expire.

“This change reduces confusion and clarifies that asylum seekers can submit their work permit renewal requests up to 180 days before the expiration date, which minimizes potential work permit lapses,” said USCIS.

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