If You Believe You Have Been Denied ABT Benefits
ABT Class Members are not required to file a separate claim or register as class members before they are eligible to receive benefits under the ABT Settlement Agreement. USCIS and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) have included ABT Settlement benefits into their regular processes, and class members who meet eligibility requirements will receive these benefits. An ABT Claim should only be filed if the asylum applicant believes that he or she has been denied a benefit that he or she is qualified under the ABT Settlement Agreement.
You may file a claim if you believe you are an ABT Class Member and you believe you have been denied relief under the ABT Settlement Agreement. You must follow the ABT Claim Review process and complete an ABT Claim Form (PDF, 83 KB), as outlined in section II.C.11.b of the Settlement Agreement. Before filing an ABT Claim you should review the ABT Settlement Agreement and the ABT Claim Form very carefully and follow the instructions for submitting a claim.
You can file a claim with USCIS or EOIR if:
- You were not provided with the notice described in Section III of the Settlement Agreement (“Joint Notice”) when you lodged or filed your asylum application with the immigration court, or when USCIS referred your case to the immigration court.
- EOIR did not make the notice available to you during hearings before the immigration court after you lodge or file an asylum application.
- EOIR did not stamp your complete defensive asylum application at the immigration court clerk’s window, mark it as “lodged not filed,” and return it to you; or prevented you from lodging a complete asylum application.
- In adjudicating an application for employment authorization, USCIS did not use the date you lodged your asylum application at an immigration court clerk’s window as the filing date for the purposes of Employment Authorization Document (EAD) eligibility.
- USCIS did not mail a “Failure to Appear Warning Letter” to you after you failed to appear for an interview with an asylum office.
- You failed to appear at a scheduled asylum interview with an asylum office and did not attempt to reschedule your asylum interview with an asylum office. In addition USCIS did not wait 45 days before issuing you a decision referring the asylum application to an immigration judge.
- USCIS did not include a “Referral Notice for Failure to Appear” when referring your asylum application to an immigration judge after you missed an asylum interview and did not reschedule that interview within 45 days.
- After you requested a determination on exceptional circumstances referenced in Section I.A.4. of the Agreement, USCIS did not provide you or your representative with a determination letter and did not notify the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Chief Counsel.
- After the asylum office reopened jurisdiction over your case, you missed an asylum interview but later established exceptional circumstances with an asylum office and an immigration judge dismissed proceedings. However, USCIS did not restart the time period for asylum adjudication and EAD eligibility on the date that you appeared for a rescheduled interview.
- In adjudicating an application for employment authorization, USCIS did not credit you with the number of days that passed between the immigration judge’s initial denial of your asylum claim and the date of the BIA’s remand order.
Submitting a Claim
To submit a claim you must:
- Be an ABT class member
- Complete and submit an ABT Claim Form to USCIS and/or EOIR that identifies the basis for the alleged violation of the Settlement Agreement. This form is attached to the Agreement as Exhibit B (PDF, 83 KB).
- Submit copies of any documents, applications, receipts, notices, and/or letters in your possession that are requested in the ABT Claim Form, or that you believe support your claim(s). More information is provided in the Providing Evidence section of this website;
- Indicate which provision of the Settlement Agreement USCIS and/or EOIR did not follow on the ABT Claim Form. You must follow the instructions on the ABT Claim Form; and
- Submit the claim form as soon as possible, but no later than 180 days following the denial of an application for employment authorization that is based on the alleged violation of the terms in the Settlement Agreement that pertain to your claim.
You must submit documents that prove the elements of your claim, as required based on the nature of your claim and the guidance provided in the ABT Claim Form (PDF, 83 KB).
1. Incorrectly Denied Form I-765:
If your Form I-765 was denied on or after December 3, 2013, and you believe it was denied because of an incorrect calculating of the 180-day asylum EAD Clock (PDF, 149 KB) under the Agreement, submit your signed ABT Claim Form and all requested documents to:
DHS USCIS - Nebraska Service Center
P.O. Box 87526
Attn: ABT Claim Review
Lincoln, NE 68501
2. Missed Asylum Interview:
For claims that:
- USCIS failed to take certain steps it agreed to after an asylum applicant missed an interview with the USCIS Asylum Office; and/or
- USCIS did not make the notice about employment authorization for individuals with pending asylum applications available to the asylum applicant upon referral to the immigration court,
Please submit your signed ABT Claim Form with all requested documents and attachments in your possession, to the USCIS Asylum Office where you missed your asylum interview.
3. Claims with EOIR:
For claims that pertain to:
- Lodging or the attempt to lodge an asylum application with an immigration court clerk at a time other than an immigration hearing; and/or
- Receipt of the Joint Notice regarding employment authorization for individuals with pending asylum applications,
Submit your signed ABT Claim Form and all requested documents to:
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Office of General Counsel
ABT Claim Review
5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 2600
Falls Church, VA 20530
There is no filing fee for eligible ABT class members.
Within 45 days of receipt of a claim form, USCIS and EOIR will mail you and/or your representative, if any, a Notice of Preliminary Findings or a Final Notice.
Notice of Preliminary Findings
This notice will request that you provide additional evidence supporting your claim, and will explain:
- Why USCIS or EOIR has initially concluded that you are not a class or subclass member; and/or
- Why USCIS or EOIR has initially concluded that your claim does not amount to a violation of the agreement.
If USCIS and/or EOIR sends a Notice of Preliminary Findings, you will have 30 days (the supplementation period) to submit additional written evidence or information to correct any deficiencies in your claim. USCIS and/or EOIR will send a Final Notice to you and/or your representative after the supplementation period has passed and you have not responded, or within 30 days of receiving any supplemental documents or information from you.
This notice will include the results of USCIS’s and/or EOIR’s investigation of the facts you have submitted and will include:
- A determination of whether you are a class or subclass member;
- If you are a class or subclass member, a determination of whether a violation of the agreement occurred;
- A description of any corrective action that USCIS and/or EOIR has taken or intends to take to correct the violation, if any; and
- If USCIS or EOIR determines that you are not a member of the class or a subclass member, or have not stated a claim under the Agreement, instructions regarding seeking review of that determination or any corrective action.
Claim Not Resolved
If you believe that your claim has not been resolved, you have 30 days from the date USCIS and/or EOIR mailed your Final Notice to negotiate with USCIS and/or EOIR in good faith to resolve any remaining disputes.
Once 30 days have passed, if you believe your claim was not resolved, you may apply to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington for enforcement of the Settlement Agreement. This may be done only after you file a claim form and negotiate in good faith. Before applying, you must notify USCIS and/or EOIR that you intend to apply to the District Court for the enforcement of the Settlement Agreement.