In mid-April, the departments of Justice (DOJ) and Homeland Security (DHS) agreed to settle a nationwide class action challenging the denial of work authorization to asylum seekers who have been waiting six months or more for a decision on their asylum applications. If approved by a federal judge, this agreement will help ensure that asylum seekers, who have fled persecution in their home countries, are not unlawfully prevented from working while the government adjudicates their cases. The agreement stems from a case filed in late 2011 by several advocacy groups, including the American Immigration Council (AIC), that challenged widespread problems with the “asylum clock” — the  system government agencies use to determine when immigrants who have applied for asylum may obtain permission to work lawfully in the United States.  Asylum applicants normally have to wait at least six months to obtain employment authorization; however, asylum officers (AOs) and immigration judges have the power to stop the EAD asylum clock — the six-month time period the applicant must wait — for any delay in the adjudication process that the judge or AO determines was requested or caused by the applicant.  As a result, some applicants have ended up waiting several months or even years; in fact, AIC had documented excessive delays and instances where an AO or immigration judge improperly stopped, or failed to start (or restart) the clock. The suit alleged that these practices, combined with growing backlogs in U.S. immigration courts, violate the Constitution, federal statutes, and governing regulations. Because the suit is a class action, the settlement agreement will have to be approved by the federal court judge overseeing the case.