An Alternative Inaugural Ball for Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Their Supporters

by Jason Dzubow on December 29, 2016

The inauguration of a new president is almost upon us. It’s traditional to celebrate the democratic transition of power with lavish parties. They take place all over Washington, DC. Some are formal affairs attended by the President and other VIPs; others are much simpler and unpretentious.

This year, I know that many refugees, asylum seekers, and their advocates are nervous about the new Administration and what it might mean for them and their families. During the campaign, there was a lot of negative talk about immigrants and refugees. It’s not surprising then, that many of us are not feeling in a celebratory mood.

But it seems to me that we need to come together to remind ourselves of why accepting refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants into our society is so important. We–advocates, clients, family members–draw strength from one another. For that reason, a group of us has organized a “Refugee Ball” for refugees, asylum seekers, their families, advocates, and supporters.

The purpose of the Ball is not to celebrate the new President; nor is it to denigrate him. Rather, we want to support each other and help demonstrate the value of refugees, asylees, and immigrants to the wider community. We also want to celebrate the core humanitarian values that underpin our refugee and asylum programs–values like compassion, generosity, friendship, diversity, inclusiveness, and due process of law.

With that in mind, it is my pleasure to invite you to attend the Refugee Ball, which will take place on Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, located at 600 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001.

Refugee, asylee, and immigrant vendors will provide food, music, and art. Also, immigration lawyers–including me–will be on hand to provide free consultations and “Know Your Rights” presentations. Events will start at 5:00 PM with the legal consults. Other activities will begin at 6:00 PM.

The Ball is free and open to the public, but please let us know if you plan to attend by responding on our Facebook page (click here for the link). We will update the Facebook page with more information as we get closer to the date.

Also, if you would like to support the Ball financially, please consider making a contribution (click here for the link), and spreading the word about this event. All proceeds will go towards the cost of the Ball, and any leftovers will be donated to local and international non-profits that support refugees.

Thank you, and I hope to see you there.

{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

Daniel January 28, 2017 at 9:48 pm

Hi Jason,
Thanks for keep updating us.
who are illegal Aliens? are these people who cross the border without Proper VISA ? and who are legal aliens?

People came to USA with B1/B2 visa and applied for asylum, are they illegal alien?

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Jason Dzubow January 30, 2017 at 10:52 pm

The terms you use are not really legal terms, so I cannot answer your questions. Basically, an illegal aliens might be someone who is not here legally, whether they entered illegally or remained here after their visa expired. People who file for asylum are allowed to stay here while their cases is pending, so in that sense, they are legal. Take care, Jason

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shumaila January 24, 2017 at 1:23 am

hi jason
i have a pending asylum in sacramento, CA. My husband is IT NETWORK ADMINISTRATOR , he wants to update his skills but doesn’t has too much finance, so if he takes a financial ais using our SSN, will it have a bad effect on our asylum results??

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Jason Dzubow January 25, 2017 at 7:18 am

I do not see how that would have any effect on your asylum case. Take care, Jason

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dave January 21, 2017 at 6:51 pm

Hi Jason how you doing…
First I appreciate for giving us your time in replying our questions precisely. My question is can I file my EAD exactly on 150 days of pending my asylum case or I have to wait 3 or 4 days more?

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Jason Dzubow January 21, 2017 at 8:45 pm

You can file after 150 days from the date the application was received by USCIS (this date is on your asylum receipt). Take care, Jason

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Mehmet Sawut January 18, 2017 at 4:41 pm

Hi Jason,

I just finished my interview and got results today. But they referred me to the immigration judge. Can you suggest me to the next step? How long do I have to wait for the immigration court date?
Thank you

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Justin January 20, 2017 at 4:10 am

Cool.

Hopefully they send you back to your country.

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Jason Dzubow January 20, 2017 at 8:39 am

The next step will be a Master Calendar Hearing, which is basically a short hearing (maybe 2 minutes) for the judge to see what is the case about, and to give you a final court date. This might happen soon, or it may take many months. You should find a lawyer to assist you in court, as it is much harder to win a court case without a lawyer. Take care, Jason

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kukbure January 22, 2017 at 10:38 am

Thank you Jason.

I have been my lawyer since I applied for Asylum. The interview result has no specific reason. The officer ignore country condition of China. It says country conditions informations inconsistence. That’s the only reason I got from them. I don’t know what to say in this case. It’s very disappointing result with nothing. How long do I have to wait for final court date? How about filing motions to reconsideration? will it work? or waste of time and money?

Best regards

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Jason Dzubow January 22, 2017 at 3:51 pm

You can file a motion to reconsider with the asylum office, but you have to do that quickly (maybe the deadline is 30 days, but I do not recall), and we have found this to be ineffective unless there is a really obvious mistake in the decision. As for the waiting time in court, it varies greatly depending on which court your case is in, and who is your judge. Some people wait a few months; others wait years. You will have to see what they tell you at the first hearing. Also, it make a big difference to have a lawyer in court, and if you hire a lawyer, he/she should be familiar with the wait times at the local court. Take care, Jason

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kukbure January 23, 2017 at 1:11 am

Thank you very much Jason.

But I still don’t understand why the asylum officer gave me results with no specific reason. That’s I would like to submit motion to reconsideration. I don’t this will work or not.

Allen January 24, 2017 at 12:27 am

if they say there is a inconsistency in your country condition report, that means you probably wrote your case by yourself and the writing was not so good. There are more than enough materials about China on the internet to write a good country condition report, but I guess you might have included too many things in your report and confused the reader. This is one of the examples of a bad asylum statement. When you wrote too many things, it will distract the reader from your case and in worst case, you may end up writing conflicting information in your statement. if this happens, which I suppose happened in your case, asylum officer would rather refer you to the immigration court. so, the next thing is to hire a good lawyer who know your country, race, ethnic situation well and let him assist for the next fight. Good luck!

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Allen January 24, 2017 at 12:14 am

adash..sili adowkat ishletmepsile de….ozanglar case yazgan bolsangla qatak qikkan ohxaydu. men ilimtas kilgilimu heli bop kaldi.. bu togrida heli jik nerse bilimen hazir. pikir almashturup turayli. mawu uchurni korep kalsangla email yazasila. alexalm1987@gmail.com

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kukbure January 24, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Rehmet, men adowkat ishletkan. Hamma ish adowkatning orunlashturishi bilen bolghan.

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Ronaldinho January 18, 2017 at 3:16 pm

I am an international student and I go to college here in the US. I came to the US when I was fourteen years old, and I went to high school here. Now I am eighteen years old and this is the second semester of my college. Initially, I had no plan on staying either in the US or Canada because I love my country. But as the years passed by, the conditions in my country got worse and worse especially for the minority Shia Hazaras like me. The Afghanistan economy is down and due to my family’s poor financial status, I can’t afford to go to school here as an international student anymore. Also, I can’t go back to Afghanistan because all these years that I have spent here would be wasted and my future would be ruined. Thus, I have decided to go to Canada, and seek asylum. I do have my uncle who lives in Canada. I was wondering if this was a good idea to seek asylum at their border? and what exact documents would I need? and what would be the process to get those documents?I just want to know what is your take on this matter? and do you think it is worth a try? I would really appreciate a response from you. Thanks for taking the time to read concern.

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Jason Dzubow January 20, 2017 at 8:38 am

You should talk to a lawyer in Canada before you try this. People who come from the US and seek asylum at the Canadian border are often rejected and returned to the US, where sometimes, they are detained. It may be possible for you to do it, but I do not know, as I am a lawyer in the US, not Canada. Talk to a lawyer in Canada and make sure you can do it before you take the risk. Take care, Jason

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Ada January 17, 2017 at 1:01 pm

Hi Jason how you doing?
I submitted my declaration after 3 months of filling my I 589 form. I noticed a date error on when did you last leave your country section in my I 589 form but I wrote it correctly in my declaration. Can I correct it at the interview?

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Jason Dzubow January 19, 2017 at 7:23 am

Yes – At the interview, you have an opportunity at the beginning to correct and update your form I-589. It should not be a problem; we do it all the time. Take care, Jason

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jmk January 9, 2017 at 3:54 am

Hi jason this true that ead now becomes for two years?

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Jason Dzubow January 11, 2017 at 7:13 am

EADs based on asylum are now being issued for two years. Take care, Jason

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francisco January 5, 2017 at 10:55 pm

Hi Jason! Your website is great thanks for all your help. Sorry to bother but I want to know if you heard about this before:

I filled my asylum case with the Arlington, VA office, I live in GA. My initial EAD was granted by the service center in TX. Now, I am applying for the renovation, I sent the application to the TX service center and they transferred my case over to the Potomac service center in Arlington VA. I went to USCIS website and the Potomac service center does not handle i-795 for asylum seekers….
Is there some type of mistake here or what?

Thank you very much for your help!

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Jason Dzubow January 8, 2017 at 7:58 am

If you have the receipt for the new EAD, you should be fine. USICS transfers cases around all the time – this is related to their internal world load. Why the feel the need to tell you about it, I do not know, as it just causes confusion. If you do not have an EAD in a few months after filing, you can call USCIS to inquire. Their number is on the website, http://www.uscis.gov. Take care, Jason

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Tesseract January 4, 2017 at 7:04 pm

Hi Jason. Happy new year! I have a couple of questions. I am asylum applicant pending interview for over 2 years. I have been dating a US citizen for the past year and marriage might be an option in the near future. I filed my case in Miami Office and relocated to Chicago (and moved my case as well). Will my place in queue be the one in Chicago (currently interviewing cases for December, 2013) or Miami (interviewing cases for May, 2013)?

My next question is…. If I go through my interview and my case is sent to court, is a marriage petition an option before going to court (and possibly delaying court date until marriage petition is approved?) or once it is referred to court you have to go through with it?

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Jason Dzubow January 8, 2017 at 7:55 am

If your case has been moved, you follow the interview date for your new office. If the case is referred to court, you should still be able to do the marriage-based immigration case. We have done that for many people. Whether you are eligible for a marriage-based green card, I do not know (the usual blocks would be a criminal conviction or entering the US illegally), and I recommend you talk to a lawyer about the specifics of your case. Take care, Jason

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Tesseract January 12, 2017 at 12:31 am

Thank you for the information!

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Rickk January 3, 2017 at 10:58 pm

Hi Jason, happy new year! I wish you all the best!
You said that in “short list” at arlington asylum office are about 250 people…. i hav ecouple questions about it:
1. Do i have to go there and ask them to put me in short lis?can i just e-mail them?
2. Does it worth it? How often people getting cals from them to showe up for tomorrow interview?
3. Can you provide a little bit more info or/and tell some stories about it if u have some.
4. Where can i check the latest new about asylum and immigration laws in general? USCIS doesn’t really postxall updates and changes!

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Jason Dzubow January 8, 2017 at 7:32 am

I forget how many people are on the list, but it is not so “short”. 1 – You can email them or go there. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. 2 – It does not do any harm, so I guess it is worth it. I do not know whether it will help much, though. People do get called from the list, but it will take a while, and the regular process may be faster. However, if you are on the short list, either you will get a faster interview from the list, or you will get your regular interview based on your place in line. There is no down side to being on the list (except maybe that you will get notice of the interview only a few days before the interview, so you need to make sure the Asylum Office has all your documents). 3 – see 2. 4 – You just have to follow the news and check different websites that help with asylum. USCIS does not do a great job of publicizing such news. Take care, Jason

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Patti Lyman January 3, 2017 at 2:23 pm

Jason, good for you for making this effort. For the record, I heard no “negative talk” from the Trump campaign about “immigrants”…..only about illegal aliens, which as you know is an entirely different population. Moreover, most references were to criminal illegal aliens, the group I firmly believe will be the first enforcement priority in the new administration. Happy New Year to you and yours.

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Jason Dzubow January 8, 2017 at 7:23 am

I have heard negative references to Syrian refugees, who are legal immigrants (we do not know who they are, they are a Trojan Horse). I do think the concerns of my clients and people like them is not based on nothing. Anyway, the proof is in the pudding, so we will see what he does soon enough. Happy New Year to you too, and hope to see you soon, Jason

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Patti Lyman January 9, 2017 at 3:49 pm

No one wants to lose what they have obtained for themselves and their families…even if they obtained it illegally…but that’s not the point. The point is that the Syrian “refugees” – including large swaths of purely economic migrants like those currently putting their mark on Western Europe – should not be shoved through without thorough vetting that requires them to meet the legal standard for genuine refugees. If they cannot be adequately vetted to prevent danger to public safety, then they should not be admitted. The fact is that in many cases we do NOT know who they are and this influx could very well be a Trojan Horse, since infiltrating “refugee” populations with terrorists has been stated to be part of ISIS’ stated strategy. That is not an attack on “immigrants”. Tens of millions of Americans – including legal immigrants – share those concerns.

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Jason Dzubow January 12, 2017 at 7:17 am

I am very surprised that you would consider Syrian refugees to be economic migrants. There are millions of people living in camps or displaced in many different countries. I doubt they went to the refugee camps to further their careers. And in fact refugees are vetted more than any other type of immigrant – we have something like 150 million non-citizens come to the US for different reasons each year. They undergo less scrutiny than the refugees, and so I do not see why refugees (who are mostly families) are singled out. ISIS would do far better to send people here as students or business visitors; it takes less time and there are less controls. If we were living in parts of Europe, where the migration has been much larger and much less controlled, I think your argument would be much more convincing. Take care, Jason

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Patti Lyman January 12, 2017 at 6:04 pm

Jason, I was referring to those populations being REFERRED TO as refugees but who in fact are just economic migrants, like countless men of military age currently seeking benefits in Western Europe – they are not “mostly families”. I’m familiar with the normal vetting that goes on with asylum and legitimate refugee cases processed from overseas, but there are efforts by the Obama to import wholesale huge populations without such vetting. The intent of ISIS is very clear, whether we think it’s their best infiltration strategy or not. My whole point is that we do NOT want to become today’s Western Europe, which seems to be the goal of certain people who have an interest in increasing the government-dependent population in the U.S. to serve a political agenda, all under the guise of “compassion”. I’ve been zealously representing my clients for 15 years and I take a backseat to no one in my defense of legitimate refugees. Having said that, it is not worth even one raped, attacked, robbed, terrorized, unemployed, or murdered American (or legal immigrant) for the sake of proving that Americans are compassionate. I think we are going to see a reshaping of policies that uses benefit to America (along with compliance with international treaties) as the yardstick for who should and should not be admitted to the U.S. Yes, there will be some pain, but what has been perpetrated so far is unsustainable, and there is a chance to shift gears. My goal is to play whatever role I can in making sure MY deserving clients have the best chance under the new regime and to influence such policies based on what I have observed and experienced over the past 15 years. I think you have quite a bit to offer in shaping policy as well, Jason…..bridges can be a good thing.

Amanda Ruano January 3, 2017 at 9:54 am

I think everyone has right whether they are refugees or any other, I think law is same for everyone

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john January 2, 2017 at 11:42 pm

Hello Jason,

Hope you have a great 2017. I wanted to ask you that I lost my passport before I applied for asylum. I pre-informed my attorney about the loss of my passport. Up to this point, I still wonder if it ruins my chances of winning asylum. Is there anything that you could recommend?

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Jason Dzubow January 3, 2017 at 7:39 am

I do not think it ruins your chances. You should get alternative evidence of your identity – old passports, national ID card, student ID card, work ID, student records, birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc. All this will help prove your identity, which is an important part of the process. Also, you should have an explanation ready if USCIS asks why you do not have a passport. Take care, Jason

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Izzac January 2, 2017 at 5:15 pm

Dear jason
Happy new year

I have a Q Sir , i am grant asylee stutus , i would like to apply to my kids and wife form I 730 ,,,i live in north carolina to which office i should apply ??? Nebraska?
Thanks

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Jason Dzubow January 3, 2017 at 7:19 am

You have to look at the instructions on the I-730. It tells you the filing address based on where you live. I do not know off hand. Take care, Jason

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Alex January 2, 2017 at 3:32 pm

Hello Jason,

Just wanted to thank you again for all your time and effort for asylum applicants.
We came back from vacation on December 25th to find a letter from USCIS granting me and my husband asylum! We’ve been waiting for 3.5 years!
I’ll be happy to make a donation to help out with a ball!

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Jason Dzubow January 3, 2017 at 7:14 am

Congratulations – That is a good way to end a vacation! It would be great if you could donate to the ball (https://www.gofundme.com/refugee-ball?ssid=849057474&pos=1) and/or if you could attend. Take care, Jason

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ahmed January 2, 2017 at 3:05 pm

hi, thank you so much
i have a question about asylum can someone seek asylum at the airport transit my friend is travelling from Asia to Ecuador he has 7 hours airport transit can he seek asylum there? thank you

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Jason Dzubow January 3, 2017 at 7:12 am

He can, but it is very likely he will be detained. He will have a “credible fear interview”, which is basically an initial evaluation of his asylum case. If he “passes”, he will then get to present his asylum case to a judge (he may or may not be released from detention during his case). If he is denied, he can ask that the denial be reviewed, but if that fails, he will be deported immediately. Take care, Jason

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Arafa January 1, 2017 at 11:32 pm

Can you upload the presentation?

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Jason Dzubow January 2, 2017 at 11:02 am

I am not the sophisticated – sorry. I will probably write a blog post about it though. Take care, Jason

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D. Murphy January 1, 2017 at 6:36 pm

Mr. Dzubow, I am a practicing attorney in Olympia, WA. Are you aware of any alternative inaugural balls in Washington state, particulary Olympia or Tacoma? If so, I would love to attend one.

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Jason Dzubow January 2, 2017 at 10:56 am

I am not – a group of us just came up with this idea and organized it (and had I realized how much work it was, I probably would have organized an alternative inaugural pizza party, as that would have been easier). Anyway, maybe you can do something on the West Coast – or better yet, come to ours – I bet you can write it off, at least. Happy New Year, Jason

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Davids January 1, 2017 at 7:53 am

Happy new year Jason!
plz keep up ur good work in the new year!

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Jason Dzubow January 2, 2017 at 10:52 am

Thank you – Happy New Year to you too, Jason

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jawad saleem December 30, 2016 at 10:15 pm

dear sir,
your efforts are remarkable and i appreciate your concern for needy people and m happy to donate for this noble cause and may ALLAH bless you.
Regards jawad

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Jason Dzubow January 2, 2017 at 10:37 am

Thank you – you can donate here https://www.gofundme.com/refugee-ball?ssid=849057474&pos=1, and feel free to spread the word to others. Also, if you could attend, that would be wonderful. Take care, Jason

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Hyme December 30, 2016 at 9:39 am

Hello Jason,

I’m happy for that idea to bring people together on that event. I would like to attend but I’m living NY and it’s a little to far for me for now. I hope one day, that I could finally see your face, the window of your good soul.

I wish you the best for the new year and may God bless you.

Hyme

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Jason Dzubow January 2, 2017 at 10:29 am

It would be great if you could attend, but it is pretty far. If you’d like to spread the word to others or make a contribution, here is a link: https://www.gofundme.com/refugee-ball?ssid=849057474&pos=1. Thank you, Jason

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scopa December 29, 2016 at 10:26 pm

Dear Jason,
What a great idea. I am claiming asylum because of not having a great country. It is because of group of mafias controlling the politics, economy and military of my country. It is not because I didn’t have job in my country. I was leading a big organization back home. So, the new administration will hopefully understand why people apply Asylum in USA. It is a matter of life and death.
All these said my appreciation goes to all Americans who shares a heart like yours. It is great to know people like you.
I wish you a success in your celebration. I am staying in west coast and cannot attend.
Wish you a fabulous new year!!!!!

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Jason Dzubow January 2, 2017 at 10:22 am

Thank you – and good luck with your case. If would like to contribute to the ball, or spread the word, here is a link: https://www.gofundme.com/refugee-ball?ssid=849057474&pos=1. Take care, Jason

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Mynation December 29, 2016 at 4:28 pm

Hello Jason
I really appreciate the work you are doing. If you could answer my this question, I had my interview almost 8 months ago. My AO took almost three hours and told me that my case was great. I talked to my lawyer to follow up for a decision. A couple of weeks ago, we were informed that my interview was rescheduled. Why is it that? Is it a good or bad sign? What do you personally recommend me to do in the mean time? Also do you know what the clients had to go through when the appeared for a followup interview?

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Jason Dzubow January 2, 2017 at 9:03 am

I responded to the other posting you did – hopefully, you saw it. Take care, Jason

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Mynation January 2, 2017 at 6:08 pm

Thank you Jason. I really appreciate your work. I hope you have a great 2017.

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Jeff December 29, 2016 at 1:30 pm

Hello Jason,
I appreciated the Refugee Ball you will hold. I wish I can attend but I am not living in D.C or east coast. I wish the Refugee Ball would be great successful. As for me, I have a quick question, and please give me some advice.

I came to US with F1 Visa from a master degree program. I submitted the asylum application after I landed in US, and obtained the EAD and SSN after 150 days. Now I am graduated with the master degree, and working with my C8 EAD. I would be interviewed in Aug, 2017. So, if I failed in the asylum interview, may I turn to look for an employer who can sponsor me with H1B, or any employer who can help me to directly apply the EB-2 or EB-3 immigration? Because I have not applied or used the OPT for F1 holder, so I am worrying about that I would not allowed to be transferred from Asylum to H1B holder or EB-2/EB-3 immigration.

I appreciated for your help.
Happy New Year.
Jeff

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Zac January 2, 2017 at 1:22 am

No, You can’t, to transfer your status from F1 to H1b you should be in valid non immigration status, your asylum case does not consider valid status, so if you did not maintain your F1 you can’t transfer your status or apply for GC based on employment, the only way to do this is by leaving U.S and comeback again which will be very complicated, Good luck

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Jason Dzubow January 2, 2017 at 8:57 am

First, there is no guarantee about when the interview date will be, so it may be longer (or shorter) than you expect. Second, if your case fails, you will be sent to an Immigration Judge. It may be possible for you to then get an H1b visa or an EB-2 or EB-3 green card after that, but it will be tricky. Probably, you would need to ask the Judge for voluntary departure, leave the US, and get your new visa/green card overseas, and then return here. You would need to talk to a lawyer before you do this. You might want to try to get the H1b or green card now, if you have an employer to sponsor you (or if you self-sponsor on EB-2). You would still need to leave the US, but at least you would not have to ask the Judge for permission, which saves some trouble. You would have to talk to a lawyer before you tried this to make sure you can do it, but it might be an option. Take care, Jason (PS: If you can’t make the Ball, but want to contribute something, please consider that: https://www.gofundme.com/refugee-ball?ssid=849057474&pos=1)

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Jason Dzubow January 13, 2017 at 7:36 am

I have no doubt about your commitment to your clients. I am not sure where you get the idea that we are bringing non-vetted people into the US. There has been a tremendous amount of misinformation about refugees (I wrote once about that here: http://www.asylumist.com/2015/12/02/fighting-syrian-refugees-with-lies/) and I think we (on all sides of the issue) need to be careful about determining what is actually happening. I do agree that if the government were more transparent about these things, there would be less of a void to be filled with misinformation. Anyway, I certainly hope that your optimistic assessment will prove to be correct. Time will tell. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow January 23, 2017 at 7:16 am

They only give a very general reason when they refer a case. That is just how they do it (I don’t like it either, for what that is worth). If the only basis for the motion to reconsider is that the asylum office did not give you a specific reason for the referral, I highly doubt it will work. But I suppose there is no harm in trying, so you can try, and maybe you will get something from them. Take care, Jason

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