The BIA’s Tepid Response to Asylum Fraud

by Jason Dzubow on September 11, 2015

A recent Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) decision upheld an Immigration Judge’s adverse credibility finding where the respondent’s affidavit was “substantially similar, and in some regards identical, to an asylum application previously filed by respondent’s brother in a different proceeding.” Matter of R-K-K-, 26 I&N Dec. 658 (BIA 2015).

The BIA should think of more creative ways to prevent cheating.

The BIA should think of more creative ways to prevent cheating.

In this case, the first brother came to the U.S., filed for asylum, and was granted. In his asylum application, brother # 1 stated that he was arrested two times–in 2004 and 2006–and he described what happened during those arrests. Later, the second brother (respondent or R-K-K-) came to America and filed for asylum. He also claimed to have been arrested two times–in April and May 2010. R-K-K- described his arrests in terms remarkably similar to his brother’s case, including the time of day when he was arrested, the abuse endured, conversations with abusers, and psychological harm. R-K-K- even included in his affidavit the same spelling and grammar mistakes as his brother.

After informing R-K-K- of the problem, the Immigration Judge (“IJ”) gave him time to gather evidence and explain himself. R-K-K- claimed that the similarities were the result of the brothers’ “common backgrounds and experience,” and because they were assisted by the same transcriber. The IJ asked R-K-K- to locate the transcriber, but R-K-K- was unable to do so.

The IJ did not accept R-K-K-‘s explanation. He found R-K-K- not credible and denied the application for asylum. R-K-K- appealed.

The BIA affirmed the IJ’s decision and issued a published decision in order to set forth a “procedural framework under which an Immigration Judge should address… inter-proceeding similarities.” The short answer here is that (1) the IJ must give the respondent notice that her case has been found substantially similar to another case; (2) allow her an opportunity to explain what happened; and (3) determine the respondent’s credibility based on the totality of the circumstances. The shorter answer is, Who cares?

I do not know how often “inter-proceeding similarities” are an issue, but I imagine it happens now and again. When I was a Judicial Law Clerk at the end of the last century, I worked on a Somali case that was essentially identical to an unrelated person’s case. The affidavits and events were word-for-word the same. Only a few names had been changed to personalize the story a bit. So I suppose there is nothing wrong with establishing a framework for analyzing the problem.

But to me, it seems that the Board in R-K-K- is missing the larger issue. Yes, it appears that R-K-K- committed a fraud, and yes, under the applicable legal standard, he should probably be deported. And fine, it’s nice to have a framework to assess credibility when this issue comes up. But what about the missing “transcriber”? Where is the person who prepared this fraudulent case? He is nowhere to be found. And the BIA does not seem to care.

Frankly, the BIA’s decision here makes me angry. Everyone in this business knows that asylum fraud is a problem. We also know that there are (hopefully) a small number of attorneys and notarios (or transcribers) who are responsible for much of this fraud. These people damage the asylum system and make life more difficult for legitimate asylum seekers.

Some–perhaps most–of the fraudsters’ clients are active participants in the fraud. But at least in my experience cleaning up their messes, many of these “clients” are naïve victims of unscrupulous attorneys who find it all too easy to manipulate frightened people who do not speak English, who are predisposed to mistrust authority (because they were harmed by the authorities in the home country), who do not understand “the system,” and who have no support network in the United States.

So is R-K-K- a victim or a villain? We don’t know, and given the BIA’s “framework” for analyzing similar cases, I guess we never will.

How could this decision have been better? It seems a crime was committed here, so why not involve law enforcement? When a possible fraud has been detected, the Board could require the IJ to inform the applicant about the possible fraud, advise him that if he cannot overcome the finding of fraud, he faces criminal and immigration penalties, and give him an opportunity to switch attorneys and/or work with law enforcement to expose and prosecute the guilty party. He should also be made aware of the benefits of cooperation. The alien can refuse to go along, of course, in which case he will face the consequences. But if he does cooperate, he should be rewarded, particularly if it turns out that he was more of a victim than a co-conspirator.

There is precedent for this type of coercion in immigration proceedings. In Matter of Lozada, the BIA basically held that if an alien has been denied relief due to the ineffective assistance of her attorney, she can reopen her case, but to do so, she generally must file a bar complaint against the ineffective attorney. This requirement forces attorneys to police their own by possibly having their colleagues disbarred. I don’t like it, but I’ll file a complaint when it’s justified. And–so the reasoning goes–if the offending attorney is barred from practice, his future clients/victims will be protected.

The problem addressed by R-K-K- is worse than the one described in Lozada. In Lozada, we are talking about ineffective assistance of counsel–this ranges from a benign screw-up (which can–and does–happen even to the best attorneys) to dereliction of duty. In R-K-K-, on the other hand, the Board is addressing outright fraud: The attorney or notario (or applicant) has appropriated someone else’s case as her own in the hope of outwitting the fact-finder. This is malicious and dangerous behavior that requires punishment. The regime created by R-K-K- allows the little fish to fry and the big fish to keep swimming. It addresses a symptom of the fraud without reaching the source. I hope that the BIA will one day revisit this issue and that it will take a stronger stance against asylum fraud.

{ 77 comments… read them below or add one }

Carina Amendolaro March 29, 2016 at 10:09 am

Hi Jason,
I am from Venezuela and I am also an Italian citizen by descent. I had to escape from Venezuela and went to Italy for 3 months. I then came to U.S to stay with my brother who lives here. My state of mind was not good and I was having paranoid episodes I believe because of what I experienced in Venezuela, so my brother said I could stay with him. I entered the US with my Italian passport. I am planning to file for asylum but someone told me if I do, I would be immediately deported and wouldn’t even go in line to be interviewed. Have you known of any cases where the asylum applicant goes to the front of the line because of dual citizenship? I would really appreciate your response. Thank you.

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Jason Dzubow March 30, 2016 at 6:15 am

I have not heard about such a case, but I do not know if “visa waiver” countries like Italy are treated differently; I doubt you would be sent to the front of the line, but I do not know. You would, however, have to show that you face persecution in Italy as well as Venezuela in order to win asylum. Also, potentially, your case could be deemed “frivolous”, which would result in denial of any benefits under the Immigration Law. You may want to consult a lawyer to think about alternatives to asylum – maybe there is something more appropriate for you, like some type of humanitarian parole. Good luck, Jason

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Susan October 1, 2015 at 10:37 am

Hi Jason I saw the chart that Chicago asylum offic still interview the cases applied in May 2013 since 5month no Chang only may I can not understand this

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Jason Dzubow October 2, 2015 at 6:36 am

That is true – there has been no movement in Chicago for some months. It is very frustrating.

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Josiah September 29, 2015 at 7:24 pm

Hello Jason
Thank you for the Support to everyone

I applied asylum in March 2013 from Seattle did my Biometrics April 2013 and 2nd on June 2015 , I have never received any interview notice its very frustrating and its getting slower with the backlog. I applied for 2 EADs and they always got approved on the 55th day when they are pending …This year my EAD renewal took longer pending days ,I talked to my lawyer and he requested to looked into but they never gave him any answer. I really need a valid EAD to keep my employment I know am one of many facing same issue with the delays
I know regulations require the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process EAD applications within 90 days

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Josiah September 29, 2015 at 7:28 pm

Question : Do you think I have to wait for Years for my asylum to be looked into? I realized 8 months after getting EAD and going through processing becoming problematic and expensive for immigrants

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Jason Dzubow September 30, 2015 at 10:09 pm

It is difficult to predict how long you will wait. There is a chart from USCIS that can tell you who is being interviewed today at your local asylum office, but it does not tell you when you can expect to be interviewed: http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-asylum/asylum/affirmative-asylum-scheduling-bulletin. Good luck, Jason

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Jason Dzubow September 30, 2015 at 10:08 pm

The EAD delays have been long and have been a problem. USCIS is not very responsive. I do not have a good solution for you. As for your asylum case, you can check this website for progress at your local asylum office: http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-asylum/asylum/affirmative-asylum-scheduling-bulletin. Good luck, Jason

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Bill Jay October 1, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Please I read yesterday on the internet that visas of siblings seeking asylum in other countries are being revoked or they are being denied visa. Is this true and what is the criteria? Is it that they will just deny visa even when those siblings are married and living with their families?

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Jason Dzubow October 2, 2015 at 6:39 am

It is possible, and we had one case where that may have happened (we are not sure – it may have been revoked because a jealous relative reported falsely on the person to the US embassy). If the embassy believes that a person with a non-immigrant visa will remain permanently in the US (by seeking asylum or another way), they can deny a visa or revoke a previously-issued visa. Revoking the visa seems pretty rare.

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Amin September 28, 2015 at 4:34 pm

I was just granted asylum. Thank you so much for your help Jason and best of luck to everyone.

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Pilot September 29, 2015 at 12:50 am

dear Amin
congratulation bro…
would you please give us some details of your case.. where and when you file? when did you conduct your interview?
how long it take to get the decision?
so hopefully we can expect something soon…
thanks.

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Amin September 29, 2015 at 1:15 am

I applied 25 months ago in Chicago and had my interview 3 months ago. I have to say each case is different.

Best of luck

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Maria October 5, 2015 at 10:10 am

Hi Amin,

Congratulations, I had my interview 3 months ago as well at Chicago office, no decision still. Please let me know if you tried to do anything to get a decision sooner (contacted ombudsman or anything else?) or just waited?

Thank you

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Jason Dzubow September 29, 2015 at 6:06 am

Congratulations and thank you for letting us know. Good luck in the USA, Jason

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Pilot September 29, 2015 at 8:07 pm

Thanks buddy and good luck…..

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Susan September 30, 2015 at 10:34 pm

Congratulations Amin you mean you apply in 7/2013in Chicago
Thank you for reply

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Nabeel September 28, 2015 at 4:26 pm

I was granted asylum in june 2015. Now I want to apply for my spouse and children. The question is that my father is also in India where I belong. Due to life threads I can not go to see my father he is 75 years old and I have no brother or sister.I am the only son of my father and my elder son who is 17 years look after him. What I can do for my father that he accompany with my family because he can not live alone due to his age and security threads. Please tell me

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Jason Dzubow September 29, 2015 at 6:06 am

You cannot file for him as you can for your wife and children. Once you are a US citizen, in 5+ years, you can file for him. Before then, he would have to apply for a visa like anyone else. I know of no easy way to bring him. Good luck, Jason

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Ali September 27, 2015 at 12:13 am

Hi Jason, I applied on dec 1st 2014 at SF office, got interviewed jan 10th 2015 got my EAD 6/19/15. I’ve been lucky with everything except for the decision so far which is delayed. Question is that I have been offered a very job by a very reputable US based company. Do you think having an EAD will have any effect on the offer (I will have to show them my proof of employment eligibility in US before I join). If they do make an issue what is your advise on the matter. I really want this job and just cannot afford to loose it. Also what is the average wait time for the decisions. Regards.

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Jason Dzubow September 27, 2015 at 9:36 pm

There is no average wait time for a decision, but we have many people waiting more than 10 months, so that is common. You might want to contact the asylum office and tell them your situation. I doubt it will help, but it might. You are eligible to work with the EAD, so hopefully you will be able to start the job. Take care, Jason

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mohamed September 26, 2015 at 4:24 pm

Hi jason
Thank you for all your help. I had my interview last year and i granted,my quastion when i need to applay for green card i have to wait 12 month or i can start applaying like 10 month from approve.
Thanks

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Jason Dzubow September 27, 2015 at 9:31 pm

We used to tell people to wait 11 months, but than someone was rejected because they had not waited the full 12 months. Now, we tell people to wait 12 months before filing for the green card. Take care, Jason

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miya September 24, 2015 at 11:50 pm

Hello Jason,

Thank you for all your help. I had my interview last July and denied. send to the court, my master hearing was today on 9/24/2015 but I couldn’t make it and it passed me. what shall i do….i don’t have a medical or any reason that i have to provide to the court for evidence that would help why I am delayed. I need your help please the problem was personal.
Thank you and God bless You for all what you have been doing.

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Jason Dzubow September 25, 2015 at 6:39 am

If you failed to go to court, most likely you were ordered deported. You can ask the court to reopen the case. I highly recommend you find a lawyer to help you, as it will be very difficult to do this on your own. Good luck, Jason

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Adib September 24, 2015 at 3:49 am

I had my interview now 19 months but still no decision i sent them an email after that I received a fingerprint notice i did my fingerprint now 17 days after the fingerprint still nothing what you think and what is your recommendation thank you do much I appreciate your work.

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Jason Dzubow September 24, 2015 at 6:44 am

Many people have had their cases delayed after the interview. Generally, there is not much you can do. Maybe email the asylum office or the Ombudsman. I have provided links to both places in a posting I did on February 26, 2015. Also, we have had a few cases recently where the person received the second fingerprint appointment and then shortly thereafter a decision. Hopefully you will get a good decision soon. Take care, Jason

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Mei Chow September 23, 2015 at 10:34 pm

Questions regarding minor children applying for asylum

Hi Jason,

I hope you can shed some light on the following two scenarios.

Mother A is in Los Angeles, CA while her 17 year-old son attending a college in Kansas. Mother A, a Falun Gong practitioner subject to arrest and detention in China due to her belief, would like to submit asylum application that includes her son as her derivative. But before that, she wants her son to submit asylum application on his own, hoping USCIS would process a minor’s application faster. She also thinks that even if her son’s application fails, she could still “save” him from removal proceedings by including him in her own application.

Mother B is also a Falun Gong follower who had undergone 1 year of labor camp in China. She has already tendered her asylum application including her two minor children as derivatives. Her older son, a 16 year old, has been in the US for more than a year and out of status now. Seeing the backlog, now she would also like her two minor kids (one 16, one 6) to submit asylum application on their own.

What are the pros and cons of the two mothers doing that? Would the worst case scenario happen where the children’s cases moved to court and, once failing that, be subject to removal proceedings?

Thank you so much!

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Jason Dzubow September 24, 2015 at 6:43 am

For A, I do not think the minors case will go any faster, and two different cases create an opportunity for confusion and extra scrutiny. This is obviously a strategy question, and so she should talk to a lawyer about all the specifics, but based on what you’ve said, I do not see much advantage to having two cases, and I see disadvantages, so I would be inclined against the idea. As for mother B, I am not sure that it is legally possible for them to submit separate cases since their cases are already pending as dependents of the mother. You can contact the local asylum office to ask about this, but I suspect they will tell you not to file, or to file the case at the local office instead of the service center. It seems the main purpose of filing for the minors separately is to make the cases go faster, and I do not think that will work. Good luck, Jason

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Umit September 21, 2015 at 8:31 pm

Hello, Jason,
I really appreciate your continues effort of providing us abundant information regards to the asylum in U.S.
I applied asylum 6 months ago, and also applied for the EAD a month ago, besides of notice, I haven’t received any updates regards to my asylum application nor EAD.
I had OPT EAD in 2013 right after finishing my master’s. Do you think my asylum EAD is considered to be initialing filing or the renewal of my previous EAD? because I heard that the timeframe for initial filing and renewal has a big difference.

Waiting your reply,

Thank you,

Umit

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Jason Dzubow September 21, 2015 at 9:57 pm

It sounds like an initial filing based on asylum. It usually take 1 to 3 months to get the EAD, so it sounds like everything is normal there (assuming you received your receipt). As for the asylum case, there are long delays, so you will probably not hear anything from USCIS for a while – you should have received a receipt and done a fingerprint appointment. If so, everything is probably on track. Take care, Jason

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Martin Burdik September 21, 2015 at 3:54 pm

Hi Jason
My i-589 request was received 30 april 2015,and one week later i make fingerprint in tampa,i dont pay any fee for fingerprint.And october 2 after 150 days i will send completed application i765 to immigration office in dallas
My question is? I must pay fee for emloyment authorization card 380 dollars or not? My eligibility category is (c)(8)
Thank you

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Jason Dzubow September 21, 2015 at 9:53 pm

For a first EAD based on asylum, there is no fee. For any renewals, you have to pay the fee.

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Memet September 21, 2015 at 9:17 am

Hi Jason:
Sorry for bothering you again. It’s been 40 days since my submit application for work permit. I still didn’t receive it. This is my first apply. I have received the receipt also.
Thank you.

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Jason Dzubow September 21, 2015 at 9:47 pm

Our clients generally get the work permit in 1 to 3 months after filing, so you should expect it in the next month or 2. Good luck, Jason

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Elnil September 18, 2015 at 3:13 pm

Dear jason
Thanks for your information.am asking do you know portland office interviewing which month and year????

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Jason Dzubow September 20, 2015 at 9:48 pm

I don’t – USCIS has not published data on the sub-offices, and I have not heard anything about Portland. You might try asking a local charity that does asylum cases in Portland – they should know.

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Elnil September 22, 2015 at 11:37 pm

Thanks sir Jason
I have one more Question what month and year interviewing at San Francisco Asylum office ???

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Jason Dzubow September 23, 2015 at 10:21 pm
Duha September 18, 2015 at 1:19 pm

Thanks for your information,
I want to ask you, is there anything I can do to let my clock go on once more?
It has been stopped since 3 years.
Thanks

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Jason Dzubow September 20, 2015 at 9:47 pm

The clock is a huge problem. Generally, when you attend the next event (hearing or interview), the clock should start up again, but it sometimes does not. You can contact the asylum office or court to ask about the clock; sometimes that helps. Good luck, Jason

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Sally September 18, 2015 at 11:49 am

Dear Jason thanks for your information.
What month Arlington office interviewing cases these days?

Thanks!!

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Jason Dzubow September 20, 2015 at 9:45 pm

August 2013.

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Lily September 16, 2015 at 3:29 pm

I applied for asylum since nov 2011 and also interviewed
Now i called the eoir number and entered my
A-number and it shows me my name,
Is this mean i denied and referred to the court?

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Jason Dzubow September 16, 2015 at 4:39 pm

You called 1-800-898-7180? If your name is in that system, it normally means you have a case in court. You should contact the asylum office to see why you never received a notice from them. Good luck, Jason

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Lily September 17, 2015 at 11:02 pm

Yes i called this number
So this mean i denied ?

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Lily September 17, 2015 at 11:18 pm

I want to tell you my story
At first my husband applied for asylum and i and my daughter as dervatives and after one year and a half we didnt interviewed but the nebrasca office sent me a reciept for me include just my name that i applied for a defensive asylum and need to let the court knows about any change in my adress
So i surprised because i didnt applied for that im just a wife derivative of my husband adminstrative asylum appliction after that we ask chicago about that then they asked nebrasca the nebrasca cant do any thing as they told us because the a file in chicago and the couldnt doa ny thing without the A file
After that my husband had an interview at chicago office we told the officer about that reciept the officer didnt know about the problem
And i called the eoir number and my a number did not match
After that we sent an inqury letter to ask about the decision the chicago office sent us a letter that our case still pending with the office so next day of that letter i called the eoir number and found our names me and my husband and my daughter in the system
So please what should i do?
Is this maybe a mistake ?
Or they send us the decision after the letter but maybe still in the postoffice on the way to us ?
Am so confused
I dont know what ill do next
And by the way there is no court date when i called the eoir

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Jason Dzubow September 18, 2015 at 6:39 am

I really do not understand the question. It seems to me you need clarification from the asylum office about the status of your case. You should contact them directly. If they cannot clarify the situation, you should contact the Ombudsman office. I did a posting on February 26, 2015 that has links with contact info for all the offices. Good luck, Jason

Jason Dzubow September 18, 2015 at 6:37 am

It sounds like it, but you should contact they asylum office to see if you can find out what is going on. Good luck, Jason

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TJ September 15, 2015 at 9:32 am

Thank you Jason for the recommendation

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TJ September 14, 2015 at 8:27 pm

Thank you very much for your advice

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Patti Lyman, Esq. September 14, 2015 at 3:55 pm

Excellent post, Jason. I despise these fraudsters with a purple passion. I could name a few “practitioners” right now, but i’ll refrain…..My experience is that most clients know full well that they are lying and that it’s wrong, but I have learned all too well that desperate people do desperate things. I can usually tell immediately when someone is lying, I give them enough rope as we chat to make their fraud undeniable, and then I explain they have run smack dab into my “one lie rule”. (The sad thing is that the truth is usually enough, but in “the community” they get convinced they must lie.) They then have a chance to tell me the truth and I’ll do all I can to help them bring forth a proper and fraud-free case. If they lie after that. I’m out, because part of what I offer my clients is the promise that when we enter asylum office or courty they can be confident that the officer/trial atty/IJ didn’t just see me the week before with a client who was lying their head off. I of course also advise them that sticking to the false story is still their choice, but they will have to do so with another attorney.

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Jason Dzubow September 14, 2015 at 9:53 pm

Ah Ha! I am glad we agree on this one. You may not believe me, but after I wrote this, I though of you, and that we would probably be on the same page. As practitioners, there is only so much we can do when we see a fraudulent case. And I pretty much do what you do – for us to maintain credibility with the Asylum Officers and Judges, we must do our best not to take cases where there is fraud. That can be tricky sometimes, but it is crucial. Take care, Jason

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majun September 14, 2015 at 3:01 pm

I have been out of the field for quite some time but I am retired now and more free to speak, but I can tell you that boilerplate applications were a scourge in the asylum offices when I started with the program back in 1992. In the Newark Office, which covered all of New York back then since the Rosedale office didn’t open up till 1995, fully 90% of our applications were boilerplate coming from one of a dozen or so asylum mills run by attorneys or just preparers. In the late 1990s we finally got some help from INS Investigations and prosecuted dozen or so asylum mills, but it was difficult.

Many of the worst, like U.S. v. Sheldon Walker crossed jurisdictional lines, and not just NY and NJ. The three biggest in the early 1990s were Sheldon Walker, Paul Freedman and Qazi Moid, who together papered the eastern half of the United States with several thousand asylum applications. After Paul Freedman was prosecuted and lost his law license, the NY AILA chapter arranged to have his open cases turned over to a young lawyer just starting out, to review them and advise them on whether to continue. A good way for a new young attorney to build up a client base. After getting the “open cases” he called the Newark office to complain that Freedman had left behind over 5000 open asylum cases and he didn’t know what to do with them all. We advised him to contact some of the law school clinics to see if they could take some of them off his hands.

The reason we were able to combat that fraud for a little while was because of overreach by one preparer in NYC who bundled up over 2000 applications, stuffed them in milk-crates and shipped them up to Vermont in a UPS truck, without even bothering to put them in individual envelopes, just hanging files in the milk crates. The Director of Service Center Operations was so pissed he ordered all the I-765s denied immediately (pre-1995 reform when the I-765 was filed concurrently with the I-589) and ordered Investigations to free up investigators in both NY and NJ.

I spent four years working with those investigators and numerous USAs in both Manhattan and Newark. The investigators were happy to work the asylum cases, but getting the USAs to bring prosecutions was like pulling teeth. From their perspective for the same amount of work it would take to convict one person on charges that would carry a maximum of 40 months they could prosecute 5 or 6 drug cases with guaranteed sentences of 10 years minimum. Another consequence of the “war on drugs”.

From the perspective of the asylum officers, the amount of fraud that they were dealing with was potentially deadly, for some applicants. It was hard to do a real interview on the third case in row where the I-589s were absolutely identical except for the name and birth date (yes, even the addresses were identical on many cases since the preparers wanted to make certain that all the paper work went to their drop box so they could keep complete control of the situation). Once I had three Pakistani cases in a row where, on the third case my questioning started out with,

“Do you know Mr. X or Mr. Y?”
“No”
“That’s odd, they were both Secretaries of PPP in Islamabad the same as you.”
“I was secretary for a small neighborhood office, there are many such PPP offices in Islamabad”
“They both left Pakistan on the same day as you and arrived in Canada on the same day”
“There are many flights from Islamabad to Canada”
“They crossed the border into the US, without inspection, on the same day as you”
“It is a big border”
“The’ve been living in the same apartment in Brooklyn for the past 18 months”
“It is a big apartment and people come and go all the time”

You get the idea. But we kept telling the officers that they couldn’t assume that there was no case, because some of them were just getting trapped by preparers who would tell them that this was the way the game was played.

If you read the Sheldon Walker case, the mention one of the witnesses against Walker, Silbester Gomes, a Christian from Bangladesh, who did have a good religious based claim, but Walker sent him with a bogus political claim. He had the presence of mind to denounce his application immediately after being sworn in and was willing to throw his attorney out and do the interview by himself. A rare occurrence. We also had a time when five Honduran female applicants showed up on the same day with identical applications from identical addresses. We knew who the preparer was because there were certain stock phrases used with common spelling and grammar errors, but the Honduran was branching out for that particular preparer since she usually only handled Salvadorans and Guatemalans. The first four interviews went as expected. The applicants knew nothing about their claims. The fifth applicant was completely different, not only did she know about her claim, she had corroborating documentation. When we questioned about how she came to file she told us that a friend had given her the phone number of the preparer and she traveled up to Boston to have her do the application, when she told the preparer that she was staying with her sister who had three Honduran roommates, the preparer offered her a deal, send up the sister and roommates to file their own applications and she would give a group discount. Later in the year we got several more Honduran applications for the same preparer that were identical to the original five.

There are some other cases out there that provide some guidance on how to handle boilerplate applications, but more guidance would be welcome. Like I said, I don’t know how bad it is now, but I know it is still a problem and, with the backlogs that have developed in the past couple of years, probably a growing problem.

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Jason Dzubow September 14, 2015 at 9:49 pm

Fascinating comment – Thank you. I also do not know how bad it is, but your comment (at least to me) points to the need for much harsher penalties against the fraudsters. It has always seemed to me that once a fraudster is identified, it should be relatively easy to catch and prosecute that person. Given the cost of the fraud, and the damage to our humanitarian system – not to mention the potential issues of admitting criminals and terrorists – I think much more severe penalties are in order for the perpetrators.

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Kelly September 17, 2015 at 9:57 am

Fascinating, thanks for the input.

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Al September 14, 2015 at 1:24 pm

Hi Jason,
I filled a 1821 back in 2013. I received a work permit but never received an approval. I decided to file for re-registration when the time came (in june) and got a notice that my application i821 has been transfered to Rosedale (asylum office) where I have also filed an asylum application and interviewed in OCt 2014 but never got an answer. Could this all be due to security and background checks?
I filled a case assistance with the ombudsman but they replied that they are unable to help.

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Jason Dzubow September 14, 2015 at 8:18 pm

I really have no idea. Sometimes, cases are transferred to different offices for efficiency purposes, so maybe that is the reason, but I really do not know. Maybe you can call USCIS directly and ask about the status (the phone number is on the uscis.gov website), though more often than not, they are not helpful. Good luck, Jason

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Memet September 13, 2015 at 3:25 pm

Hi:
What is the status of asylum process in Virginia now? It’s been 180 days for my application. Do you know how long i would wait approximately?
Thank you

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Memet September 14, 2015 at 7:10 pm

Hi Jason:

What is the status of asylum process in Virginia now? It’s been 180 days for my application. Do you know how long i would wait approximately?
Thank you

REPLY

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Jason Dzubow September 14, 2015 at 9:57 pm

I do not know – it depends on how many cases enter the system and whether they hire new asylum officers. You can check this website to get some idea about how the cases are progressing: http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-asylum/asylum/affirmative-asylum-scheduling-bulletin

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Jason Dzubow September 14, 2015 at 7:58 pm

They are currently interviewing cases filed in August 2013. It is not possible to predict how long fast they will move through the cases, as it depends on how many new people enter the system. You can see their progress here: http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-asylum/asylum/affirmative-asylum-scheduling-bulletin

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Sara September 12, 2015 at 7:46 pm

Hi Jason,
I noticed they finally updated the bulletin and the NY office seems to have whizzed through three months! This sounds promising but I’m also picturing them just rejecting everyone and getting it over with. Hard not to be pessimistic while you’re waiting.
Any idea what’s going on at the NY office for this to have happened?

Thanks in advance.
Sara

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Jason Dzubow September 12, 2015 at 9:31 pm

I don’t know – but it seems to be the only office that has made any substantial progress in the last month. It may be that they are not processing so many of the credible fear cases from the border, so they can focus on regular, affirmative asylum cases. We’ll have to keep watching the bulletin to see how things progress.

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Sara September 12, 2015 at 10:32 pm

Yeah, I’m hoping that that’s it.

Thanks a lot for your prompt response.

Best,
Sara

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nelson September 12, 2015 at 4:34 pm

Hi Jason,

I have a pending EAD application and a pending asylum case after the interview.

I know that it is impossible to check asylum status on USCIS website, however just now I have checked my ZAR number on USCIS website and it says
“New Card Is Being Produced
On September 11, 2015, we ordered your new card for Receipt Number ZAR**********, and will mail it to the address you gave us. If you move, go to http://www.uscis.gov/addresschange to give us your new mailing address.
“. Before that it always used to tell me that case has not been found, check your receipt number….
Does it mean that I am approved?

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nelson September 12, 2015 at 5:58 pm

meanwhile EAD receipt number is showing up as follows: “In July 29, 2015, we received your Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization , Receipt Number LIN******, and sent you the receipt notice that describes how we will process your case. Please follow the instructions in the notice. If you do not receive your receipt notice by August 28, 2015, please call Customer Service at 1-800-375-5283. If you move, go to http://www.uscis.gov/addresschange to give us your new mailing address.”

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Jason Dzubow September 12, 2015 at 9:29 pm

It sounds like this is a notice that they are sending your EAD. You might want to contact your asylum office to see whether there is an update about your asylum case. Good luck, Jason

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Mimi September 12, 2015 at 10:30 pm

Nelson, it seems like they granted you! Hope, I am right(keeping my fingers crossed)

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nelson September 13, 2015 at 7:41 pm

Thank you Jason, I will give them a visit tomorrow

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Memet September 11, 2015 at 1:05 pm

Hi Jason:
Sorry about the bothering you. I applied for Work permit on August, 10th. Also received the notice receipt a week later. It’s been more than 30 days. How long does it take to get work permit? How long will i have to wait? it is my first my application.
Thank you so much.

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bagira September 12, 2015 at 2:55 am

dear Memet
It took between 45 to 75 days to receive it, if not then you can make inquiry ….. good luck.

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Jason Dzubow September 12, 2015 at 9:07 pm

It usually takes 2 or 3 months; hopefully, you will get it soon.

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TJ September 14, 2015 at 2:35 pm

Hi Jason
Thank you for your informative blog.
I wanted to ask you about the EAD processing time for first time applicants. I read the other day that it is 3 weeks for processing EAD for asylum applicants. Does it differ from one state to another? Also how early before my 150 days do I have to send my EAD application.
Thank yoi

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Jason Dzubow September 14, 2015 at 8:21 pm

I recommend that you do not send the application until 150 days have elapsed; otherwise, it may be rejected. Our clients’ first time EADs are generally processed in 2 or 3 months, but lately, some people have been receiving them in about one month. Good luck, Jason

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Ina February 8, 2016 at 10:37 pm

Hey Jason how are you , I applied for politic asylum 7 months ago I never received any conformation latter, answer or fingerprints appointment. Being really desperate I went in the info pass office on the second month after applying and they said that they don’t have anything in the system. I moved in different state now after the 7 months and they’re is no way how to change my adress cause I never get alien number. Please help me any advice is more than useful

Jason Dzubow February 9, 2016 at 7:31 am

You would to your local asylum office – not to the USCIS office where you went using InfoPass. You can find the local office using the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Make sure to check the hours/days when they are open. It might be better to go to the local office at your old address, but if that it tool far, try the new local office. You can also email them (the email is at that link as well). Finally, you can file a Freedom of Information Act requesting using form G-639 (available at http://www.uscis.gov), but that will take a while. Good luck, Jason

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