Last week, a federal judge approved a settlement agreement in a law suit challenging EOIR and USCIS procedures regarding the asylum clock. The lawsuit challenged the procedures used by the two governmental agencies since, among other things, they did not give notice that the asylum clock was stopped. Under the law and the regulations, the applicant could become eligible to receive an employment authorization document after 180 days had passed from the date of his application. However, such clock will stop, and the applicant will become ineligible for the “work permit” if he causes any delay in his case. The settlement gives guidelines to both USCIS and EOIR regarding notice. The new procedures make things like giving notice and synchronization of the agencies’ procedures mandatory.
The case name is B.H., et al. v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, et al. For a complete copy of the settlement agreement visit this link. I welcome this new policy. I have represented several asylum applicants that had to accept the “first available date” under the old policy even though they were truly not ready for their individual hearings. This new policy will ensure that there is some fairness, especially to one of the most vulnerable classes of immigrants. Please comment or email me if you have any questions.