Federal Judge Preliminarily Approves Amended Settlement Agreement in National Class Action Lawsuit on Work Authorization for Asylum Seekers

For Immediate Release
Friday, September 27, 2013

Contact: NWIRP, (206)-957-8600


SEATTLE WA,

On September 20, 2013, the federal district court for the Western District of Washington held a fairness hearing and preliminarily approved a settlement agreement in a nationwide class action lawsuit, B.H. et al v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, et al. (also known as “ABT”).  The lawsuit challenges the denial of work authorization to asylum seekers who have been waiting six months or more for a decision on their asylum applications. The case was filed by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC), Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI, and the law firm Gibbs Houston Pauw.
The Court concluded at the September 20 hearing that it would provide a 30 day window for class members to review a revised settlement agreement and a supplemental class notice regarding attorneys’ fees.  The Court stated that it intended to issue an order approving the settlement on November 4, 2013 if it does not receive any objections in the 30 day period.  The Supplemental Class Notice outlines minor changes to the original settlement agreement, which are indicated in a red-lined version of the agreement, and the proposed payment of attorney’s fees and costs.  The court further directed the posting of the Stipulated Motion for Payment of Costs and Attorneys’ Fees and an accompanying Exhibit.  The court stated that it intended to issue an order approving the settlement on November 4, 2013 if it does not receive any objections in the 30 day period.