“Us Versus Them” in Immigration Court

by Jason Dzubow on June 8, 2017

There’s a quote attributed to legendary DC-lawyer Jake Stein that has helped define my practice as an attorney: “I’ve never litigated a case where I wasn’t better friends with my opposing counsel at the end of the case than at the beginning.”

Though it may be satisfying, beating up opposing counsel probably violates the Rules of Professional Conduct.

His philosophy may be Old School and–in these days, where being nice to someone you disagree with has become all too rare–almost radical, but I’ve taken it to heart. I try to maintain a congenial and trusting relationship with the DHS attorneys who sit across from me in court. As a result, I believe my clients are better off—and so am I.

The former President of the DC Bar, Tim Webster, touched on this issue last year in an article about the “Balkanization of Lawyers.” What he meant was that we lawyers tend to fall into opposing camps, Us versus Them, and never the twain shall meet. In Immigration World, that means attorneys who represent immigrants and asylum seekers, on the one hand, and government attorneys, on the other.

Mr. Webster laments the division of our profession in this manner, and points out that it is often bad for our clients, who benefit when lawyers are able to “work cooperatively with opposing counsel towards a consensual resolution” of their cases. Perhaps Mr. Webster’s observation is more applicable to civil cases, where a negotiated monetary settlement is the norm, but I think it also applies in Immigration Court. When we have a cooperative relationship with DHS, we are often able to reach better resolutions for our clients. DHS attorneys are more likely to give us the benefit of the doubt, and more likely to stipulate to part (or sometimes all) of a case.

Mr. Webster also argues that the idea of us-versus-them stands in opposition to our core values as attorneys. Under the Rules of Professional Conduct, we are required to be honest and fair–to the client, to other attorneys, and to the tribunal (and also to other people we encounter in the course of our work). When we view opposing counsel or Judges as “the enemy,” it becomes easier to justify behavior that risks violating our obligations under the Rules, which can harm our clients (and land us in hot water).

Unlike perhaps some areas of law, immigration law has a strong ideological component. Many of the attorneys who represent immigrants do so because they believe in human rights and they want to keep families together. For such attorneys—and I include myself among them—our work represents an expression of our moral and/or religious values. In other words, it’s more than just a job; it’s a mission.

Does this make it harder for us to work cooperatively with opposing counsel (DHS)? Is it more urgent that we do so? For me, the answer to both these questions is yes. When our clients’ lives and futures are on the line, it can be very difficult to maintain a cordial relationship with a government attorney who is fighting to have that client deported. But even in the hardest-fought case, there is value in maintaining lines of communication. For example, even where the DHS attorney will not compromise and is fighting all-out for removal, there still exists the possibility of stipulating to evidence and witnesses, and of a post-order stay of removal. Severing the connection does not serve the client (though it may satisfy the ego), and certainly won’t help future clients, and so to me, there is little value in burning bridges, even when I believe DHS’s position is unjust.

All that said, there is no doubt that we will often disagree with our opposing counsel, and that we will fight as hard as we can for our clients. This is also a duty under the Rules of Professional Conduct (zealous advocacy), and for many of us, it is an expression of our deeply held belief in Justice.

With the ascension of the Trump Administration, and its more aggressive approach towards non-citizens, I believe it is more important than ever for us lawyers to keep good relationships with our DHS counterparts. While some government attorneys are glad to be “unleashed” and to step-up deportation efforts, many others are uncomfortable with the Administration’s scorched-Earth strategy. These DHS attorneys (and I suspect they are the majority) take seriously their obligation to do justice; not simply to remove everyone that ICE can get their hands on.

While the environment has become more difficult, I plan to continue my Old School approach. It works for me, it has worked for my clients, and I think it is particularly crucial in the current atmosphere. We lawyers–the immigration bar and DHS–should continue to lead by example, and continue to maintain the high ethical standards that our profession sets for us. In this way, we can help serve as a counter-balance to our country’s leaders, whose divisive, ends-justify-the-means approach has no use for the basic principles of morality or comity that have long served our profession and our democracy.

{ 114 comments… read them below or add one }

Raïs June 16, 2017 at 6:20 pm

Hi Jason thank you so much for what you are doing.
My wife & i have a pending case and we’re living in New York but my wife is currently in Colorado I just wanna know if she can do and medical test in Colorado ?


Jason Dzubow June 19, 2017 at 6:27 am

I am not sure – if you mean the medical test for the green card, I suppose it would depend on the type of case you have and where you filed. In other words, I would need more info to answer the question. Take care, Jason


Meli June 16, 2017 at 6:57 am

Hi Jason, so I won my case in immigration court 3.5 months ago but, I still haven’t got my i94. Should I just wait? Or should I call uscis? At this point I don’t know who to contact.

Thank you Jason


Jason Dzubow June 16, 2017 at 7:04 am

You probably need to make an Info Pass appointment at http://www.uscis.gov. Bring your ID (passport) and your order granting asylum. They should give you the I-94. Anyway, this is the usual process after a case is granted and the court or DHS attorney (or your lawyer) should have informed you about it, but sometimes, people forget to do that, especially if you got the decision by mail. Take care, Jason


TruthSeeker June 16, 2017 at 5:45 am

Could everybody write the center they applied for EAD and the days it took to get the EAD? For example “Nebraska, 60 days”. This will allow us to see normal processing times. Jason, sorry for using your blog as a platform for data gathering. I just hope this will help everyone with their expectations.


Jason Dzubow June 16, 2017 at 7:02 am

It’s a good idea, but the problem is that processing times vary widely and go up and down, and so even if you get an answer today, it might not be very relevant tomorrow. Anyway, it is certainly worthwhile to ask and see what happens. Take care, Jason


Sara June 21, 2017 at 8:32 pm

New York approximately 60 days (my husband’s card this year — I haven’t renewed yet.)
Jason is right, though. The first round of EADs we applied for had my card arriving in half the time it took my husband’s , even though we sent the applications together. I then lost my card and the replacement took longer than the initial one.


Sara June 21, 2017 at 8:33 pm

Sorry, I made a mistake. His most recent card took around 2.5 months from the receipt date.


Jimi June 14, 2017 at 3:52 pm

Dear Jason,
Hope you are doing well. I applied for EAD renewal on first week of June, still today I haven’t get the receipt. I sent cheque to USCIS for fees, today they have charged from my account. Please guide me what should I do to get the receipt of EAD renewal? Thanks


Jimi June 14, 2017 at 4:08 pm

I just saw, in this blog some had the same issue like me. I call bank about the cheque they inform me that they have debit the money through account and number which was present on the cheque. I call the USICS and they inform me to wait till 30 days to get the receipt.


Jason Dzubow June 16, 2017 at 6:25 am

It can take 3 or 4 weeks to get the receipt. If they cashed the check, you will be fine. If you get a copy of the check from your bank, USCIS should have stamped your receipt number on the check, and so you can look up your case at http://www.uscis.gov using the receipt number. Take care, Jason


Adnan June 13, 2017 at 7:49 pm

Hi Jason. Sir my master calendar hearing will be in 6th July. It’s only 20 days left its in ny. But now I’m planing to move to other state is it possible to move case to other state at this time. And if I move how I move my case and it is easy to move when only 2 weeks left in the hearing. Thanks in advance for ur reply. Thanks


Jason Dzubow June 14, 2017 at 6:31 am

You would have to move and file a motion to change venue. It may be possible, but if the judge does not grant the motion before your hearing, you would need to go to the hearing and give the judge your change of address form there. Then (hopefully), the judge will move your case. If you miss the hearing, the judge will order you deported, so be careful about that. If you have a lawyer in your new location, the lawyer can help you move your case. Take care, Jason


Runner June 13, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Hello Shawn ,Thank you so much for your detailed response which made me decide not to travel domestically by air but rather drive . What places and locations and activities do u advise us to stay away from inorder not to come in contact with ICE agents. Thanks a lot again for your detailed response .


Jason Dzubow June 14, 2017 at 6:25 am

I suppose I am less concerned about this problem than Shawn, especially if you have an EAD already and an asylum receipt, I have never heard of anyone being detained under those circumstances, unless they also have a criminal conviction. People who overstay their visas can be detained, of course, but I have not heard about people with pending asylum cases being detained. Maybe Shawn can clarify whether the people who were detained had pending asylum cases, or whether they were people who overstayed their visa but did not yet file for asylum. In any case, I suppose keeping away from the authorities these days is the more cautious approach, but I just think that given the small chance for a problem, it is not necessary to be too concerned (at least not yet). Take care, Jason


Shawn June 14, 2017 at 11:26 am

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what areas to stay away from. I figure more or less that these acts (asylum applicants being detained) are very random and sometimes arbitrary. Asylum applicants, especially those who applied after their visas expired, can be detained by traveling even by bus. ICE usually checks the names of the people who board the flights, or bus, and match against their database. I suspect you are more of a target of you have some kind of criminal/civil violation; however, like Jason said, you should be very careful and bring all your documents (asylum receipts and EAD cards) as they can detain you if they want, even you have a pending asylum application.


Jason Dzubow June 16, 2017 at 6:10 am

Except in the one case in NY, I am not aware of ICE checking a domestic flight. Of course, we may not hear about it every time it happens, but I think many people are on high alert and so I suspect that if this were a widespread problem, we would be hearing about it. Take care, Jason


Shawn June 16, 2017 at 7:58 am

Hi Jason,

Thank you for your response. Believe me, they do check. And, it’s certainly not one case. I know quite a few people who use NYC Bar Association and Immigration Equality; and the people I know, know quite a few people, too. Maybe they are lying or stoking fear?

Just a quick question: Do asylum applicants have to absolutely have the original receipt (the one you get when you filed your I-589 that says you can remain in the US while your application is pending a decision) when they are going for their asylum interviews? Can a copy of the receipt suffice, or do they even need it at all?

Thank you for your effort and valuable information.

Aaaaa June 13, 2017 at 3:15 am

Hi Jason, thank you for all you do to help with knowledgeble information about asylum. I self applied for asylum bavk in 2014. Due to constant moving i lost my original copy of i589 and all the evidence i submitted for my asylum case. What should i do during the interview?

Thank you


Jason Dzubow June 13, 2017 at 6:42 am

You can file a Freedom of Information Act request, form G-639, available at http://www.uscis.gov, to get a copy of your file. It takes a few months. Maybe you can also ask the local asylum office for a copy of your case, but I do not know whether they will give it to you. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason


Aaaaa June 13, 2017 at 8:20 am

Thank you


Zax June 13, 2017 at 2:53 am

Hey Jason,
From what I see on the affirmative asylum schedule bulletin, am I right to assume interview schedules are going faster? I am interested in Chicago and it shows that they have done June-October 2014 in the month of May. What’s you take on that?


Jason Dzubow June 13, 2017 at 6:37 am

We are seeing that interviews are going faster. In fact, in my local office, they announced that on May 1, they would be increasing the number of affirmative asylum application interviews. Previously, they had been doing 90% border interviews (credible fear) and 10% affirmative asylum interviews. Now they are doing 75%/25%, and we can see it when we are at the asylum office – there are more people there. My sense is that the increase is across the US. Maybe you can thank Mr. Trump for this, since he has scared away and/or blocked people from reaching the US/Mexico border to ask for asylum. Take care, Jason


rsv June 13, 2017 at 4:49 pm

Hello Sir,
Any idea why Houston and Miami Offices are not moving ahead for so long.


Jason Dzubow June 14, 2017 at 6:21 am

I have not heard anything specific about those offices lately. It may be that they still have more credible fear interviews than other offices, and so they are still focused on those, rather than on affirmative asylum cases, but that is just a guess. Take care, Jason


BR June 20, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Hi Jason,

How about the San Francisco office do they also have credible fear cases.


Bhatti June 12, 2017 at 8:33 pm

Jason, can you please tell me if I need to pay for green card application fee as asylee? How much fee do I need to pay?


Jason Dzubow June 12, 2017 at 10:21 pm

You have to pay the fee, which is listed on the form I-485, available at http://www.uscis.gov. You may be able to qualify for a fee waiver using form I-912. Take care, Jason


Solo tey June 12, 2017 at 2:41 pm


Dear Jason dzubow I am very greatful for your service I applied for my first EAD last week and I forgot to mail a copy of my passport.should I mail it or should I wait for them to request for it?? Thank you in advance.


Jason Dzubow June 12, 2017 at 10:15 pm

Probably it will be better for you to wait to see whether they request it (and whether they ask for anything else). Then you will have their request for evidence, which makes it easier to respond to them. Take care, Jason


David June 12, 2017 at 1:35 pm

Hi Jason. I am asylum applicant. The government in my country is to revoke my citizenship in 3 months if I don’t go back to my country. I will be stateless. How will this affect my situation? Are there any ways to apply for citizenship or green card directly? what do you suggest?


Jason Dzubow June 12, 2017 at 10:09 pm

I know of no way to do that based on statelessness. If your citizenship is revoked, I suppose it will only help your asylum case, as it demonstrates that your government does not like you. If you win asylum, you can eventually become a US citizen. Good luck, Jason


Alex June 11, 2017 at 11:13 pm

Holla Jason.
I just have a quick questions. How long does it take applicants with approved asylum to get their Refugee travel document? I’ve been waiting for 4.5 months , although average wait time is about 3.5 months, and noone in USCIS can answer my question about issuing it to me.


Jason Dzubow June 12, 2017 at 10:00 pm

We have seen people wait 3 to 5 months. In the past few months, I get the sense that many applications are slowing down, so maybe that is affecting I-131 forms as well. Hopefully, you will get it soon. Take care, Jason


Alex June 13, 2017 at 11:02 pm

Thanks so much for your response!
It just got approved today! 4 months, 3 weeks! Yay!


Jason Dzubow June 14, 2017 at 6:34 am

Very good – Thank you for sharing the time line, Jason


Hope June 11, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Hey Jason. I applied for asylum on November 2016 with my husband. We applied for EAD on April 2017 and didn’t get it yet. My concern is I realize a week ago that I am pregnant. How should I get care without any ssn? Where should I go? What I should I do? I am living in Philadelphia and my case is in the field office of Newark. Thank you


Allen June 12, 2017 at 2:50 pm

You can apply for Medicaid! do it quickly and you prenatal care will be free for you after approval. I am not sure if you can apply for medicaid without SSN but you should be able to apply with your asylum receipt. First, search medicaid office phone number and explain that you have an asylum case pending and you are pregnant. Then they will tell you how to make the application. Some people may say you are not eligible if you are not approved for asylum. This is wrong, in this case, write to your state senator office and they will help you! This happened to us and we got our medicaid approved today. I am not living in Philadelphia but one of my friend is in the same situation with you in philadelphia and she has already medicaid.


Jason Dzubow June 12, 2017 at 10:16 pm

Thank you for sharing this info, Jason


Hope June 13, 2017 at 12:10 am

Thank you so much Allen for these informations


Raj June 13, 2017 at 1:54 am

U people can contact social services agency they will give u medical free. Pls carry ur passport n asylum receipt .
Thanks Raj


Allen June 13, 2017 at 6:40 pm

people with pending asylum case are not entitled to any social benefits including medicaid. The only exception is pregnancy. If you are pregnant, you are eligible for medicaid and you can have medicaid until several weeks after delivery.


Jason Dzubow June 14, 2017 at 6:26 am

Some people seem to get benefits before their asylum cases are approved (or even filed). I have a client with a disabled daughter. We have not yet filed for asylum, but the daughter has been obtaining medical benefits. How they qualified for this, I do not know, but maybe it is worth looking into if you have the need for some help. Take care, Jason

Shawn June 14, 2017 at 10:08 am

Hi Allen,

People with pending asylum cases MAY BE eligible for Medicaid. Most of the time, it’s people with some kind of disability, such as AIDS (not HIV), pregnancy, etc. I have seen healthy, normal asylum applicants getting some kind of benefit, too.

Jason Dzubow June 12, 2017 at 9:42 pm

EADs are taking 2 to 4 months, so hopefully, you will get that soon. As for benefits, I do not know a lot about that. A good place to start is with a non-profit in your city. In Philly, there is Catholic Charities, Lutheran Immigrant and Refugee Services, and others. I did a post on September 22, 2016 with a link to lots of non-profits. They may be able to point you in the right direction. Take care, Jason


Hope June 13, 2017 at 12:08 am

Thank for reply and your advices


Maps June 11, 2017 at 10:52 am

Hi Jason
I applied for asylum as one file, me being the main applicant with my husband and 2 kids. we received notification of our case being pending, managed to apply for EAD and SSNs which we received. my question is on my two kids on how to apply for their SSN so that they can access services especially health benefits.


Jason Dzubow June 12, 2017 at 9:39 pm

I am not sure about that. I think you have to go to the SS office and ask, and bring proof that they are here in the US with a pending asylum case. If they are in school, maybe the school can provide info about this. If you find out, please let us know, as it will help other people. Thank you, Jason


Maps June 13, 2017 at 2:16 am

Thank you.


Sara June 13, 2017 at 1:05 am

Hi Maps,
Did you apply for EADs for your children? My lawyer didn’t know that children included in asylum applications needed EADs too to get their SSNs, but I found that out from my research and we ended up applying for our then infant (this will make for a funny story some day with a picture of her baby self on an employment card as proof).
Anyway, we got her SSN that way.
Hope this helped.


Maps June 13, 2017 at 2:21 am

Hi Sara

Thank you for the info, so do i have to repeat the whole process of resending the original file of seeking asylum and do they get to do biometrics, so that they get different A-numbers from mine or i can just apply EADs for them using my A-number as i am the main applicant as they fall under my file.


Sara June 13, 2017 at 2:27 am

Glad I could help, Maps.
Our little one was finger printed with us when we did the biometrics upon filing. When we applied for her EAD, we didn’t have to do any additional steps besides sending in her application.


Sara June 13, 2017 at 2:30 am

And we sent her EAD application after my husband and I had already sent ours due to the lawyer not advising us to do otherwise at the time. So we sent it in separately and she got her EAD with no issues other than her card taking a little longer (background checks??? ?).

Jason Dzubow June 13, 2017 at 6:32 am

The difference depends on whether the child is a “dependent” on the case or is just listed on the form. If you submitted an extra page 9 of the I-589 with the child’s photo (at the time you originally applied for asylum), than he/she is a dependent on the case and should have a receipt under his/her own name. If so, you can just apply for the child’s work permit. If the child is not a dependent on the case, you must add the child to the case, which involves contacting the local asylum office to ask the procedure, and then submitting documents to USCIS about the child’s asylum application. Take care, Jason


Jason Dzubow June 13, 2017 at 6:25 am

If she gets a job, please let me know. I have two small kids I want to put to work…


Sara June 13, 2017 at 10:20 am

We brought it up, but she’s very weird about it.
I’ll let you know for sure, though. 🙂


ha June 13, 2017 at 4:48 am

You have to apply for a work permit for your kids, you will get the same I’d card which you will use to get ssn for your kids, I did the same, good luck.


Maps June 16, 2017 at 4:40 am

Thank you Ha


ahmed June 10, 2017 at 11:24 pm

hi, Jason, I want to ask you this my brother got scholarships to University and I have asylum here do you think this would not get him the visa to enter us or because I have asylum pending case?
please help us thank you one of the 6 country’s


Jason Dzubow June 12, 2017 at 9:32 pm

Your pending asylum case could make it more difficult for him to get a student visa to the US. This is a bigger problem for spouses than for siblings, but it could be an issue. He should be prepared to explain why he can safely return to his country while you cannot (in case they ask him about this). Take care, Jason


Alee June 10, 2017 at 11:07 am

Hi Jason,i am reader of your Blog since last Two and Half years.Thanks for your kind information to Asylee.
Yesterday i conducted my Asylum interview in New York office after two and half years.i am Freedom leader and we want freedom from a country.My Question is:
1. My interview runned for 3 hours and 45 minutes,while my other friends interview is conducted for one and half hour. Why so long?
2. After the interview my other friend are asked to take Decision from office but my Asylum officer told me that they will send me Decision by Mail on next week.Why?


Luli June 10, 2017 at 8:45 pm

I pray for you to get a good news
Can you please share your timeline?


Daniel June 11, 2017 at 5:41 pm

It’s impossible to say why one interview runs longer than another; there are half a dozen possible causes from the preference of the officer, to the complexity of the case, to the applicant’s responsiveness, to how soon past persecution is established, and so on.

The usual reason for a mail-out decision is that you’re still in another legal immigration status like F1 or J1, which means that you won’t be put in removal proceedings if you lose, and so they won’t need to personally hand you a referral to immigration court in the asylum office. Unfortunately, mail-out decisions usually take longer (sometimes much, much longer) than in-office decisions.


Jason Dzubow June 12, 2017 at 9:57 pm

I agree with all this. Also, many of my clients (from Muslim countries) get mail out decisions due to the delay caused by a security background check. So at least for my clients, that is another common reason for a mail out, and in some cases, a very long delay. Take care, Jason


Alee June 13, 2017 at 11:04 am

i had B1/B2 visa.and i had 6 months entry.now i am in usa since 2 and half years,as i applied for political asylum too.i have no immigration status now. i am main leader of my political party,doing struggle for freedom of my state from an occupied muslim country.My other friends told to get Asylum decision by hand from office in 2 weeks and they approved too.My question is that: why i am said to get decision by mail in one week?plz guide.regards.


Jason Dzubow June 14, 2017 at 6:13 am

Some people get decisions by pick-up; others by mail out. It could be totally unrelated to your case. However, if you are the leader of a political party, it may mean your case is high profile, and it could go to headquarters for review, which will cause more delay. I wrote a post about this on October 20, 2015 – maybe that would help. Take care, Jason


Jason Dzubow June 12, 2017 at 9:27 pm

1 – There is no way to know. In my experience, probably the #1 reason for a long interview is that the asylum officer is not experienced, but it can also be related to your case. It is not a good or a bad sign, I think. 2 – Again, it could be related to your case or it could just be because of the officer. I have not observed a difference in approval rates for pick-up decisions vs. mail out decisions. Hopefully it went well, and hopefully, you get a good result soon. Good luck, Jason


Dave June 22, 2017 at 5:29 pm

My interview lasted nearly 4 hours. It was totally draining but got approved so can’t complain. Be patient and prepare to be at the asylum office for half day. Make sure you arrange reliable transportation because I nearly missed my interview because of traffic jam. Peace.


Jason Dzubow June 23, 2017 at 6:39 am

All good advice – Thank you for the comment, and congratulations on your case! Jason


Alee June 12, 2017 at 11:14 pm

Jason plz reply.thanks.


Alee June 12, 2017 at 11:15 pm

Thanks a lot


Luli June 13, 2017 at 8:01 am

Hey Alee
You need to know when you ask for help, you need to help too !!
We are asking you to share your timeline and you just ignore us…and you go and ask again Jason
Please be correct on this situation


Alee June 13, 2017 at 11:09 am

i do not ignore.i am mai n leader of my party so due to security reasons can not share every thing openly.contact me on mashalahmedmughal@gmail.com.


Sara June 13, 2017 at 1:13 am

Hey Alee,

I hope you hear some good news soon. It’s tough having to wait on top of all the waiting we’ve already been through. I hope it doesn’t take long for you to get that letter.
Would you mind sharing what month you filed? NY April 2015 here and just want to gauge how much longer I have to wait.

Thanks in advance.


Alee June 13, 2017 at 11:11 am

thanks.i applied in Febuary 2015 and got interview last week.regards.


Mynation June 9, 2017 at 3:57 pm

Jason, Hope you are doing great. Just a question I have always wanted to know the answer, why can’t an asylee check the status of his/her case online? Just out of curiosity,



Jason Dzubow June 12, 2017 at 6:28 am

I believe it is due to the confidentiality policies related to asylum. Personally, I think it would be helpful for them to be able to check on-line, and I think it would be confidential (given that you only check receipt numbers and not names), but I have not heard that this will be changed any time soon. Take care, Jason


Liaquat Ali June 9, 2017 at 3:08 pm

Hi Jason,

I am granted as asylee in Oct 2015. I have applied for green card in Nov 2016. Since eight months, there is no new about the green card. I have apply for EAD card again because it is going to expire soon. Do you have knowledge about green card backlog?

Liaquat Ali


ha June 10, 2017 at 3:05 am

Would you share what office is processing your application?
Did you request a fee waiver?


Liaquat Ali June 19, 2017 at 9:52 pm


Texas office and I didn’t requested for fee waiver


Jason Dzubow June 12, 2017 at 6:22 am

These have been going slower lately, so it may just be normal delay. You might want to call USCIS (the phone number is at http://www.uscis.gov) to ask about the case. If that does not help, you can contact the USCIS Ombudsman – a link is at right. Take care, Jason


Rolando Enrique Rodriguez June 9, 2017 at 2:13 pm


I couldn’t agree more. Most of the attorneys I work with in Florida, are generally great, and a few times, it has helped my clients obtain better results.


Jason Dzubow June 12, 2017 at 6:17 am

I have done cases in different parts of the country (though mostly in the DC area), and although I have sometimes found the DHS attorneys to be strongly opposed to the case, they have always been reasonable about it, and – when I asked – explained why they were taking a hard line. Take care, Jason


Josh June 9, 2017 at 1:56 pm

Hello Jason,
Last month I had my interview and they sent me to the immigration court in NYC (but I haven’t got any hearing date yet)
My three questions are,
1) What if I transfer my case to San Dieago court,how long does it going to take to finish a case? And also what are the approval rate in SD.
2) do I have to wait first, until I get the letter from NYC court to transfer to San Diego?
3) I haven’t seen my family for almost 4 years now, is there any way, that I can go to a different country to see my family?

Thank you Jason for the help, your doing for people like us.Words are powerless to express my gratitude!


Luli June 9, 2017 at 11:56 pm

Sorry to hear about the court
Can you please share your timeline here, becasue i’m waiting for my interview in NY too
Thank you and good luck


Jason Dzubow June 12, 2017 at 6:15 am

1 – Once you know your judge, you can check his/her approval rate if you Google “TRAC Immigration”. It can take months to transfer a case; there is no set time frame. As for wait times, maybe TRAC also has those, but it really varies depending on your judge. 2 – You can submit a motion to the court, but I do not know whether they will transfer it before a judge has it. I am trying the same thing for a case in Atlanta, and we will see what happens. 3 – If you leave, it will be considered a deportation and you cannot return. Maybe there is a way to convince the ICE attorney to allow you to travel, but I do not know. Take care, Jason


smallword June 9, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Is there any posibility to be detained at interview or after interview the same day, if officer is not satisfied with your answer?


Jason Dzubow June 12, 2017 at 6:11 am

I have never heard about that happening for people without a criminal conviction. I did a post about that subject on May 3, 2017 – maybe that would help. Take care, Jason


mp June 8, 2017 at 9:22 pm

I enlisted ,in August 2016, in Army through Mavni program but it looks like we are not going to ship to basic training any time soon because even people who enlisted in 2015 still waiting for more than 2 interviews which we don’t know when those interview will be conducted ! I applied for asylum in 2015 and granted an asylum February 2017 . I am wondering that if I cancel my Army contract that will affect my asylum and green card application ?


Jason Dzubow June 9, 2017 at 6:13 am

It should not affect your asylum, and I do not think it would affect your GC application, but I am not sure about that, as I do not know what the specific requirements of the program are. If you are worried about this, talk to a lawyer and show the lawyer your contract, as that may discuss the consequences of withdrawing. Take care, Jason


Runner June 8, 2017 at 6:47 pm

Hello there Jason , I’m currently in the USA and my visa is expired as I am preparing my case for asylum . My sister’s graduation is in a week and I m going to need to travel domestically . Is it safe to do or will that bear a danger to my situation with TSA ?
Pls reply as soon as you can because the graduation is in a few days . Thank you so much


Jason Dzubow June 9, 2017 at 6:08 am

I have not heard about people being detained by TSA when they are out of status, but I do not really have much info about that. If you have some type of valid ID, like a driver’s license, there should be no problem, but if you are traveling using your passport with an expired I-94, then I am not sure, and I cannot advise you about that. Take care, Jason


Shawn June 9, 2017 at 9:35 am

Some people may be lucky to not encounter ICE travelling domestically; it is a game of Russian-roulette: You can actually be caught and detained by ICE. People with pending asylum applications are being detained, still, by ICE. Travelling domestically is not advisable.


Jason Dzubow June 12, 2017 at 6:08 am

I wrote about this last month (May 3, 2017), and I do not think the evidence supports the idea that asylum seekers are at risk of arrest by traveling domestically. There is one example of a possible problem, but for the most part, the situation is unchanged since Mr. Trump became president. Take care, Jason


Shawn June 12, 2017 at 9:31 am

Hi Jason,

I respectfully disagree. Asylum applicants, those who filed out of status, are being detained and targeted by ICE, especially those who travel domestically. I am relaying this information from personal experience: I know two people who were detained by ICE for two months since recently (last month). They were held for a month in detention center and subsequently released on bond. The reason for they were detained was because they violated the terms of their visitor’s visa (B1/B2). Their cases didn’t make the news like the guy Russia because, I guess, they aren’t from a country with much influence or prominence like Russia.


Jason Dzubow June 12, 2017 at 10:06 pm

You may know more than me about this if you have heard about two cases. I do think it is important to remain cautious though. Many times, there is more going on than people know (for example, maybe they sought asylum at the airport, where most asylum applicants are detained), or maybe they just got detained for overstaying their B visas. I am on a list serve with 1000+ lawyers and I have not heard other reports about this, which does not mean it is not happening, it just seems to me that if it is a problem, it is not so widespread. Certainly, we need to keep an eye on this, and if you have more info about the two cases, it would be good to know, as it could help others. Take care, Jason

Sara June 13, 2017 at 1:39 am

Hi Shawn,
Did the people you know stay past the B1/B2 expiration and file for asylum, or did they file after having stayed here for the allowed 6 months and then file? Because I can imagine the latter would somehow contradict with the law that says you need to file within 1 year.
So what I’m asking is, basically, how did they violate the terms of their visas? If you don’t mind sharing that information, of course.


Sara June 13, 2017 at 1:44 am

To clarify my point about the contradiction, I meant it would be strange if that was the basis for their arrest because then the law for filing should say “file within the 6 months/ whatever is on your I-94 or else”. Something like that.

Shawn June 13, 2017 at 10:32 am

Hi Guys,

I hope you are all doing well.
I am glad we are having this discussion.

According to US immigration laws, if you stay beyond the amount of time- this is usually 6 months- given to you then you have violated the terms of your visitor’s visa (B2). This, therefore, subjects you to detention or deportation. This fact is independent of you filing for asylum after you have overstayed the visitor’s visa.

It is imperative to note that filing for asylum within the 1 year deadline is separate and distinct from filing for asylum after you are out of status. While you are legally allowed to file for asylum without trouble if you file within 1 year of arriving in the US, it is a matter of practice when attorneys wait until the client is out of status before the filed for their clients. There is nothing in the laws that says you should(not) file in 6 months or after the expiry of your given time to stay in the US.

However, the law, as it is, does protect asylum applicants from deportation without first seeing an Immigration Judge. Currently, all asylum applicants should be given due process, that is, their cases must be presented before a judge for the judge to adjudicate the case. Furthermore, even if the judge finds your case not worthy of a grant of asylum, the CURRENT law affords asylum applicants the privilege of several appeals aside from an Immigration Jude.

In summary, you can be legally detained for overstaying your visitor’s visa, or any visa for that matter, even if you filed your asylum application on time (filing within 1 year of your arrival in the US). It does not matter if you have a criminal record or civil violation. However, the current law protects you from being arbitrarily deported (once you have a pending asylum application and have not signed any document that gives ICE authorization to deport you- which I understand can happen in “error”.)

Jason, the person I know were detained for a month. They have no criminal record or civil violation nor did they seek asylum at the border. The filed affirmatively and filed within the 1 year deadline. They were detained for overstaying the 6 months giving to them to stay in the country, even though they have pending asylum cases. They weren’t deported because, like I said, the law forbids deporting an asylum applicant without a hearing, at least.

Jason, I would suggest that you write an article about the points I am trying to make, when you get some time. Thank you for your effort and the valuable information you provide.

Patti Lyman June 8, 2017 at 3:39 pm

I largely agree. I learned at the outset that convincing the DHS atty of my client’s qualifications for the relief is just as important as convincing the judge. The judge can grant, but an appeal by DHS, even if completely unfounded, can stop my client’s life from moving forward, cost them a lot of money, and in many cases keep them detained months and months longer. I find most DHS attorneys to be very reasonable, thank God.


Jason Dzubow June 8, 2017 at 5:11 pm

As you know, I love it when you agree with me (even if it is not so common). Since the asylum office is (somewhat) back in business, maybe I will see you there soon, hopefully. I hope all is well, Jason


Mohammed Orfan Nazari June 8, 2017 at 2:06 pm

Dear Sir/Madam,

For the Human Right please I hope the Human Right might be able to help me the problems I have since 10,03,2015 I have been living in Spain Madrid but no help no respect no Visa no job for me as a USA English Interpreter


Jason Dzubow June 8, 2017 at 5:05 pm

Again, you included personal information in the email, and so I removed that. It is not permitted here. Take care, Jason


Wondering June 8, 2017 at 1:11 pm

Dear Jason,

Thank you so much for your articles.
I have a question regarding travelling outside the US.
Is it safe for Syrian (travel ban countries) with a Green Card and Travel Document (asylum granted) to travel outside the US?
No criminal record or any of that. Just travel for a vacation to Europe for a week.

I’m asking since I know travel ban is off the grid at the moment but it might come back at any time. If that happens and the person is on the way back to the US, what would the person do? Can they deport the person? If so would they lose their GC?

Thank you so much, Jason!!


Wondering June 8, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Might worth mentioning that the person does not follow any religion. (Concerning the possible return of Travel ban).


Jason Dzubow June 8, 2017 at 5:10 pm

This is not relevant to the travel ban, as – at least on its face – it does not target any religion; only certain countries. Take care, Jason


Jason Dzubow June 8, 2017 at 5:09 pm

The new travel ban would not prevent you from returning here if you have a GC, so you should be fine. That said, if you travel, keep an eye on the news and if it seems like there could be a problem, you should return immediately. I do think someone in your situation should be ok to travel though, at least for the time being. Take care, Jason


Wondering June 8, 2017 at 5:35 pm

Thank you, Jason for the quick reply!
Hopefully the ban won’t be reinstated again.
Again, Thank you!!


Sara June 13, 2017 at 10:45 am

Hi Shawn,
Thank you for very much for your detailed response.

I guess this would make a lot of us detainable yet not deportable without due process.
Fun stuff.


Jason Dzubow June 14, 2017 at 6:10 am

I agree with your points – a person can be detained after their visa expires. They can even be detained before their visa expires if they violate their visa (or if ICE thinks they are violating their visa). I would not be surprised if this happens now and again, but I have not seen any data on it, and so I do not know how widespread it is. I suspect that it is not common at all, as it is not a topic of discussion among the lawyers I know, and I would guess that we would be hearing about this problem if it were more common. On the other hand, we need to pay attention to the situation to see what develops. If I have more info about it, I will try to write a post about it. Take care, Jason


Shawn June 14, 2017 at 11:17 am

Hi Jason,

Thank you for letting us know.


Jason Dzubow June 20, 2017 at 5:19 pm

I think they do, but I do not know for sure, and I do not know what percentage of their caseload is credible fear. Take care, Jason


Jason Dzubow June 19, 2017 at 6:06 am

Normally, they do not ask for the receipt – but the applicant does need the interview notice. As for the TSA, we will have to see how that issue develops. If people start getting detained on domestic flights, that would be a major change. Take care, Jason


Shawn June 19, 2017 at 9:40 am

Thank you. I hope this doesn’t detaining asylum applicants doesn’t become too common/widespread.


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