Asylum Clock Class Action Settlement FAQ

Asylum Clock Class Action Settlement FAQ

"A.B.T., et al. v. USCIS, et al. is a nationwide class action that challenged the manner in which the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) determine an asylum applicant’s eligibility for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The suit was filed in the federal district court in Seattle, Washington in mid-December, 2011 by the Legal Action Center (LAC), Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), Gibbs Houston Pauw, and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute. 

The lawsuit challenged five specific EOIR and USCIS policies for administering the “asylum EAD clock” in removal proceedings. The asylum EAD clock is the tool used by the agencies to calculate whether an asylum applicant has satisfied the 180-day waiting period for eligibility for work authorization. Asylum applicants are not automatically eligible to receive an EAD while their applications are pending. Instead, an applicant who is otherwise eligible can receive an EAD only after the asylum application has been pending for 180 days. The running of the 180-day waiting period is suspended for applicant-requested or caused delay of the adjudication of the asylum application.

The parties have reached a settlement of the issues in the case. Because the case is a class action, the settlement must be approved by the court before it will become final. This FAQ describes the terms of the Settlement Agreement and the process for its approval." - Legal Action Center (LAC), Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), Gibbs Houston Pauw, and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute.