Asylum and Work Authorization (The dreaded asylum clock)
The Work AuthorizationThe Work Authorization (EAD-Employment Authorization Document) is available to all asylum applicants if their application has been pending for longer than 180 days and has not been delayed at the fault of the refugee nor the refugee's representative. The Asylum clock is a dreaded instrument. Normally, if the asylum application is pending in front of the asylum office, after 180 days of it pending and there is no decision, the refugee can apply for a work authorization. If the asylum application cannot be decided during that time and the delay is the fault of the refugee (such as an interpreter could not be present), the asylum clock with stop.
In Front of the Immigration CourtWhen the asylum application is decided by the asylum office the asylum clock stops and restarts after the first hearing in immigration court. Again, if it is a defensive asylum application, the asylum clock should start when the asylum application is filed in open court. However, some immigration judges sensing that there is a one year issue, do not start the clock, period, leaving the applicant without any posisbility of getting an EAD through a pending asylum application. If the hearing is continued or a hearing is not taken at the fault of the attorney, the clock stops. If the clock stops before 180 days of the applciation pending, the refugee is forever forceclosed from getting an EAD.