On December 15, 2011, the American Immigration Council (AIC) filed a nationwide class action complaint against USCIS and EOIR alleging widespread problems with the asylum clock. A.B.T. et al. v. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services et al., No. 11-2108 (W.D. Wash. filed December 15, 2011). The complaint addresses three main problems with the asylum clock: (1) that decisions to stop the clock are made without notice to the asylum seeker and are not subject to appeal; (2) that for asylum applications filed in removal proceedings, the clock does not start until the first appearance before the immigration judge, rather than with the filing of the application with the immigration court; and (3) that immigration courts refuse to restart the clock in cases that have been remanded by federal courts or the Board of Immigration Appeals. The complaint alleges that these problems violate the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Administrative Procedures Act, and federal regulation. Click here to view the complaint and click here to view the motion for class certification.
In connection with the lawsuit, the AIC would like to hear about problems that attorneys have encountered stemming from EOIR’s policy that the clock can only start or restart at a hearing before an immigration judge. Please contact AIC at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a case in which the following occurred:
(1) The asylum clock was properly stopped or not started due to an applicant-caused delay;
(2) The applicant-caused delay was cured before the next scheduled hearing;
(3) You notified the immigration court of the cure and asked that the clock be started, restarted or that the hearing date be advance; and
(4) The immigration court refused to start or restart the clock