Class Action Litigation Concerning USCIS Procedure for Issuing Work Permits to Asylum Applicants Brought to a Close

more+
less-
more+
less-

On November 4, 2013, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington granted final approval of the revised ABT Settlement Agreement, bringing to a close class action litigation that began in December 2011.  The lawsuit, originally called A.B.T. v. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, challenged the practices of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with respect to Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for asylum applicants.  The settlement agreement provides that certain individuals who intend to file an asylum application, or who have already filed an asylum application, are entitled to have their eligibility for employment authorization determined using new procedures. 

The agreement was revised in September 2013 to clarify two points:

  1. Following the remand of an asylum case to an immigration judge, for employment eligibility purposes the asylum applicant will be credited with time going forward, excluding delays requested or caused by the applicant.
  2. Remand Claim relief would be implemented under the six-month timeframe provided for most other provisions of the agreement.

Due to the government shutdown, the six-month timeframe was extended by several weeks, such that implementation has begun effective December 3, 2013.