“ABT Settlement Agreement” For Asylum Applicants

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Under the Settlement Agreement in B.H., et al. v. USCIS, et al., No. CV11-2108-RAJ (W.D. Wash.) (also referred to as “ABT Settlement Agreement”), certain individuals who seek to file an asylum application or have already filed an asylum application, are entitled to new procedures relating to the crediting of time toward eligibility for employment authorization.  In December 2011, Plaintiffs filed a class action complaint challenging the federal government’s practices with respect to Employment Authorization Documents of applicants for asylum. The case alleged that the then current system unlawfully denied asylum applicants the opportunity to obtain employment authorization if their asylum application had been pending for six months or more.  Plaintiffs were individually placed in removal proceedings, who had filed applications for Asylum/ Withholding of Removal and had filed an application for Employment Authorization. Defendants included the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Executive Office for Immigration Review.  In May 2013, The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice agreed to settle the lawsuit.  The Court granted the Parties’ Joint Motion for Preliminary Approval of Settlement on May 7, 2013 and ordered a Fairness Hearing on September 30, 2013.


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