Seeking Asylum May Be Dangerous to Your Health, Your Children’s Health, and Even Your Unborn Baby’s Health

by Jason Dzubow on July 12, 2017

The asylum process was designed for speed. The regulations require that, absent “exceptional circumstances,” USCIS should adjudicate an affirmative asylum petition within 180 days. See INA § 208(d)(5)(A)(iii). That time frame went out the window with the “surge,” if not before, and these days, cases typically take a few years (and cases referred to Immigration Court can take even longer).

“I have to drink to forget.”

The effect of these delays on asylum applicants is about what you’d expect. I often hear from clients who are suffering from depression, anxiety, and other stress-related illnesses. Some have diagnosable conditions, and we regularly obtain letters from physicians to help us expedite cases. The situation is particularly dire for applicants separated from spouses and children, but few people seem immune to the stress caused by not knowing whether you (or your loved one) will be returned to a place where you fear harm.

Several recent studies have helped shed light on how the immigration process impacts people’s health, including the health of their children and even their unborn children.

One study stems from a well-known immigration raid in Postville, Iowa in 2008. Almost 400 undocumented workers—mostly Guatemalan—were arrested and charged with crimes such as identity theft and document fraud. Most were deported. Researchers at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor examined the birth certificates of 52,000 children born before and after the raid. They found that “Latina mothers across the state were 24% more likely to give birth to undersized babies in the year after the raid than in the year before.” “The weight of non-Latino white babies stayed constant, suggesting that Latino populations were uniquely stressed by the incident.”

“Low birth weight is associated with developmental delays, behavioral problems and an increased risk of chronic disease,” among other problems.

Another study, currently in progress, will examine millions of birth certificates nationwide to “learn whether similar birth-weight patterns emerge when individual states enact laws targeting undocumented immigrants.”

A third study suggests that immigration raids can have deleterious effects on adults, as well. In November 2013, in the midst of an on-going health study of Latinos in Washtenaw County, Michigan, ICE conducted a high profile military-style raid on the local community. “The 151 people who answered the survey after the raids reported worse general health than the 325 who had already completed it…. Many said that after the raids, they were too afraid to leave their homes for food or medical care, and displayed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.”

After President Trump signed the first executive order, the American Academy of Pediatrics warned that, “Prolonged exposure to serious stress — known as toxic stress — can harm the developing brain and negatively impact short- and long-term health…. The message these [immigrant] children received today from the highest levels of our federal government exacerbates that fear and anxiety.”

These reports focus on undocumented aliens who fear removal and their children, but my guess is that the results would be similar for asylum seekers, who also face uncertainty, especially in light of the Trump Administration’s rhetoric and stepped-up enforcement efforts. The reports also reflect what I am hearing from my clients.

So what can be done to help alleviate stress related to asylum delays?

First, you can try to take some affirmative action. Ask to expedite and/or short-list your case. File a motion to advance. I have written about these options here (for the Asylum Office) and here (for the Immigration Court). Whether such efforts will ultimately make the case any faster is somewhat unpredictable, but taking action may be better than waiting helplessly.

Second—and I often tell this to my clients, most of whom have strong cases—try to live like you will win your case. Learn English, go to school, get a job, buy a house, etc. You really can’t put your life entirely on hold for years waiting for a decision in your asylum case. You have to live. Obviously, this is easier said than done, and I myself would have a very hard time following such advice, but those who can put the case out of their minds and go on with life will be better off than those who dwell on it.

Third, stay engaged. There are support groups for refugees, asylum seekers, and victims of persecution. There are also churches, mosques, and other institutions that can help. Being able to discuss problems, share information, and talk (or complain) to people who understand your situation is useful, and maybe cathartic. For a list of non-profits that might be able to refer you to a support group near you, click here.

Although cases do seem to be moving a bit faster lately, it seems unlikely that the long delays and uncertainty faced by asylum seekers will go away anytime soon. During the wait, it is important to take care of yourself and your family, and that includes taking care—as well as you can—of your mental health.

 

{ 144 comments… read them below or add one }

Chibababa July 25, 2017 at 10:07 am

Dear Jason
I had an asylum interview yesterday And I feel it did not go well after waiting for almost 4 years. So most of my answers I did not remember and the officer was trying to squeeze answers out of me. So i may have answered some questions incorrectly. I did not have an attorney because my attorney dumped me last year saying she did not practice immigration law anymore. (But she still does according to her new website) I feel like she didn’t do a good job during my case and it wasn’t well presented. I feel like I’m going to get a Notice of intent to deny or will be put in removal proceeding. I know the first step is to get an attorney in my area. I have a serious partner I have been dating over the years here in the USA and she is scared now that I may be deported back to my home country so she is suggesting that we get married right away before the decision comes. What are the pros and cons and what other options do I have?

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 26, 2017 at 6:11 am

Since I do not know your situation, it is hard to say. But if your partner is a US citizen and if you are eligible, then you can marry and get a GC that way, even if your case is in court. Another option is to fight the case in court – many times people lose at the asylum office and then win in court. In your case, I recommend that you meet an attorney to evaluate the situation and go over your options. Take care Jason

Reply

dolc July 25, 2017 at 2:22 am

hi, if you get married with someone who has a green card you can have luck to get a green card when she become an American ?

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 25, 2017 at 6:37 am

Maybe, but it depends on many factors, which I do not know about your case. Talk to a lawyer about the specifics of your case, so you can know about this. Take care, Jason

Reply

vvgt6 July 25, 2017 at 1:50 am

I lost my wife 3 months ago in my country and I sent request to the office locator if they can accelerate my case almost 2 months ago they didn’t sent me any confirmation regarding my case ,how can I do?

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 25, 2017 at 6:36 am

They are supposed to respond to such requests, so you should email them or go there in-person to follow up. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

Reply

Sim July 23, 2017 at 4:12 am

Hi Jason,

I filed the asylum recently and I have one question what kind of security check USCi do ? like they call your college your school your previous company where u worked ?

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 23, 2017 at 7:38 am

I have not heard about them calling your college or other references (but I suppose they could if they wanted to – as long as they keep your asylum case confidential). I think the security check invokes checking different data bases to see whether there is any info about you. But the process is secret, so I do not know for sure. Take care, Jason

Reply

Sim July 24, 2017 at 12:56 am

Thanks for ur reply .. can u tell me why it’s important to have lawyer to file asylum case ??? What r the plus point to keep lawyer ?

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 24, 2017 at 6:32 am

I did a posting about this on July 7, 2016 – maybe that would help. Take care, Jason

Reply

Sim July 25, 2017 at 1:38 am

Thanks I read ur july post .. but is still not clear.. just wanted to know if I know I don’t have any criminal background and my case is strong do I still need ?
My lawyer can talk when I m giving interview?
Or I m just paying him to come with me to the interview and make my file with all the paper I gave him with all articles?

jenny July 23, 2017 at 12:14 am

Hello Jason,
I have question My ex-Husband applied asylum when we were married and i was dependent on his application now we divorce year ago his application is still pending i applied renewal of my work authorization , what are the chances for renewal and what options i have, Do i need to file another asylum application.

Thank you.

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 23, 2017 at 7:35 am

It is possible that you will receive the renewal (since USCIS probably does not know about the divorce). However, if you were his dependent and you are now legally divorced, you no longer have an asylum case and – if you qualify and want to do it – you would need to file your own asylum case. You should do this as soon as possible, as there is a “one year bar” to asylum, meaning you are supposed to file within one year of arriving in the US. You may meet an exception to this rule, since you were part of his case, but the sooner you file, the better. Talk to a lawyer to be sure about this. Take care, Jason

Reply

rkumar July 22, 2017 at 11:44 pm

Hello Jason,
Is there way to expedite EAD renewal base on pending asylum, I applied my EAD renewal at TSC on may 30th and my current EAD expire on AUG 24th, I did not receive EAD renewal receipt so i called them and they gave me receipt number and they said we mailed you receipt and it’s show delivered so we can not issue duplicate receipt, and My HR asked me to submit new EAD before current expire. I know there is automatic 6 month extension but i don’t have receipt to prove that to my HR.
Than you.

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 23, 2017 at 7:33 am

First, you need to be sure that they have your correct address and that you can receive mail. If you need it, file a change of address form AR-11, available at http://www.uscis.gov. You have your receipt number, so you can show that to HR with an explanation about the automatic extension (I did a blog post on January 25, 2017 with links to the US government about the automatic extension – maybe those would help). Finally, you can call USCIS or make an Info Pass appointment and ask them to expedite (you can find info about this at http://www.uscis.gov). A letter from your employer might help with this. Good luck, Jason

Reply

Rkumar July 24, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Thank you so much.

Reply

Justin July 20, 2017 at 9:24 am

Good morning Jason I want to say to you thank you so much I came here from time to time asking questions about my pending asylum case. Any how I had my interview and then was told I needed to see and immigration judge I did and was granted asylum and the judge made his ruling from the bench and stated it was the final decision just wanted to share with you this and say thanks again and to all out there don’t ever give up or loss faith

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 21, 2017 at 6:18 am

Congratulations and welcome to the United States (finally)! Take care, Jason

Reply

Elif July 20, 2017 at 12:36 am

Hello,
On Agust, I will be here for 1 year, so I want to make an asylum application before that day. I am here with a tourist visa, which I had extended for 6 more months, after the first 6 months. Do you think my asylum statement should be consistent with my extension affidavit. Because normally, when I came here, I knew I could not go back to my home country, yet I said I will go back, in the extension affidavit.

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 20, 2017 at 5:38 pm

If it is not consistent, you may need to explain it. Maybe you were not sure whether or not you would go back, and you said that in the hope that you might be able to return. But the officer could ask why you planned to go back when you filed the extension and you will need to explain. If the extension application was a lie, you could (eventually) be required to file a waiver due to the lie. Take care, Jason

Reply

toyin July 18, 2017 at 4:08 pm

hello ,i have applied for asylum since 9th of june but i have not gotten my receipt,pls what does dat means ? do i still have hope ? Thank you

Reply

Asylum seeker July 18, 2017 at 5:21 pm

It will take some time dnt worry

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 19, 2017 at 6:21 am

That seems too long. You should make sure you sent the application to the correct address. If not, make a new application and send it to the correct place, and include a letter explaining you sent to the wrong address. If you sent it to the correct place, contact your local asylum office to ask whether your case was received. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

Reply

Asylum seeker July 18, 2017 at 12:57 pm

My two kids are in my home country we miss them.I filed in august 2015 n the lawyer said it will take two more years for the interview
I filed under Newark nj

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 19, 2017 at 6:17 am

Separation from family is a good reason to request that your case be expedited. I wrote a post about that on March 30, 2017 – maybe that would help. Take care, Jason

Reply

Asylum seeker July 19, 2017 at 8:36 am

My lawyer said he had already done it but the fact is that I dnt believe him.is there any way I can check by my self that whether he has or not expedite my case??

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 19, 2017 at 8:01 pm

If don’t trust your lawyer, you might consider finding a new lawyer. You could try to check by going to the asylum office or emailing them and asking about whether your expedite request was received. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Also, when we ask to expedite, we submit a form and I have a copy of that form stamped by the asylum office. Take care, Jason

Reply

Asylum seeker July 18, 2017 at 12:55 pm

My lawyer said that the asylum schedule bulletin is not true n they are not following it

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 19, 2017 at 6:16 am

In my experience, it is pretty accurate. Some people are expediting cases, and so they are “jumping” the line. And there is some variability in who is being interviewed, but for the most part, it seems accurate to me. Take care, Jason

Reply

Asylum seeker July 19, 2017 at 8:34 am

Thank you so much for your reply and I really appreciate what you are doing for all of us

Reply

Shawn July 18, 2017 at 12:14 pm

Hi Jason,

I hope you are well. Have you seen the new I-797C (Notice of Action) receipt? It doesn’t expressly say that the current EADs are automatically extended for another 180 days. There are actually a number of conditions that must be met. I can therefore imagine that some people are quite anxious about proving to their employers that their EADs are in fact extended, provided that they have met the list of requirements on the Notice of Action. I would want to also imagine that the employers can simply use the E-verify to check if an employee has authorization to work.

Secondly, do you know how soon after (on average) does it take to get the approval letter after the Notice of Action (receipt)?

Thank you in advance.

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 19, 2017 at 6:14 am

The last I-797 I saw indicated that the EAD was extended, but I have not looked in a month or two, so maybe things changed again. I did a posting on January 25, 2017 that has some links to the law, which could be shown to an employer. As for the time frame, EAD renewals are taking 2 to 4 months; in most cases, closer to 4 months than to 2 months. Take care, Jason

Reply

Amit July 17, 2017 at 9:08 pm

Hi jason,
I applied for EAD renewal 120 days before expiration. Received receipts but Nothing after that. It has been over 135 days since they received the case. Are these delays normal?

Regards:
Amit

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 18, 2017 at 6:36 am

That seems too long – I would call USCIS and ask. The phone number can be found at http://www.uscis.gov. On that same website, you can also make an info pass appointment, if you want to ask in person (this can sometimes be more effective). If none of that works, you can try the USCIS Ombudsman – a link is at right. They can help, but they are not so fast. Good luck, Jason

Reply

Amit July 18, 2017 at 4:19 pm

Thanks a lot, Jason. I already have contacted them over phone. Yesterday received an email after 3 weeks of that call,” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) records show your case is in line to be reviewed by an officer. We ask that you allow additional time for this process to take place since we process these cases in the order received. If after 60 days you have not received anything in the mail, please contact the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at the number provided below.” What do you suggest my further action should be?

Regards:
Amit

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 19, 2017 at 6:22 am

I would follow their instructions – hopefully, it will be resolved within 60 days. Good luck, Jason

Reply

Emmy July 17, 2017 at 2:24 pm

Jason,
while on F1 I worked in Pending asylum EAD but maintain my 12 hours study. Since my son was on F2 dependent on my F1. He has to join college soon so can he get F1 status?

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 18, 2017 at 6:33 am

If your asylum has an EAD based on the pending asylum, he can probably go to school with that. If he is still in valid F-2 status, maybe he can switch to F-1 (though the pending asylum may make that more difficult). I recommend you talk to a lawyer to see whether he can change from F-2 to F-1. Take care, Jason

Reply

Adam July 17, 2017 at 9:57 am

Hey Jason,
I was asked to come for a second asylum interview? I don’t know what’s about? I read there may be some confusion from the side of the Asylum officer or he changed before making a final decisions.
What happens during the second asylum interview?
Thank you Jason for stepping up to help us all.

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 18, 2017 at 6:28 am

It depends. Sometimes, they just need to ask a few more questions. Other times, maybe some new info came to light (maybe from the security check) and they want to ask about it. Sometimes, the asylum officer left, and the notes are not good enough to make a decision. You will just have to wait and see. You should prepare for the interview in the same way you prepared for the first interview, and you should be ready to answer questions about all parts of your case. Take care, Jason

Reply

Miller July 16, 2017 at 7:38 pm

Yeah, I have something that is petty and well, probably insulting for some considering what they have been through, but still bothers me a lot…

You see, it’s been 9 months. I was a very social person. I never had problem having company in the old country. I was out almost every day of week. I always “got lucky”. Went to Paris for 5 days, got lucky. Went to London for 2 weeks, got lucky.

It’s been nine months. No friends. No Girlfriends. No luck.

Why? 21. I’m literally going nuts. I have been drinking since I’m 15. I am too afraid to get a fake id (something I never needed before, not even when I was underage back home or abroad someplace else) . Can’t meet anyone. Can’t afford school. Life is Just perfect. I worked 76 hrs last week because my Ma (we came and applied together) can’t work. And worst of all, I can’t get no -ahem- satisfaction.

Things have been perfect :):):) just wanted to share.

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 18, 2017 at 6:19 am

There are all sorts of sacrifices that come with an asylum case. I guess this is another example. Good luck, Jason

Reply

Rae July 16, 2017 at 7:11 pm

Another great and much needed article. Thank you, Jason.
I’m trying to keep my sanity intact… After finally getting my interview expedited, I thought it went well (so did my attorney). The officer even told me I did not need to provide more stories because I “already proved [my] point.” But low and behold, I got a letter yesterday saying I was referred to immigrations court.

I’m an Iraqi Muslim who’s suffered persecution; almost got kidnapped twice and received direct threats when I was home. How else can one establish “past persecution and fear of future harm”? I’m wondering if this has to do with the EO, and if you know of similar cases after the ban was reinstated.

I know Iraq is not part of the current ban, but I’m curious to know if asylum offices are receiving any specific orders. Thank you again!

Reply

TJ July 17, 2017 at 11:27 pm

Hi Rae,

Sorry about the outcome. I wish you the very best in the next step in the process.

I have a question. How long did it take after your asylum interview to get a decision about your case?

Thanks.

Reply

Rae July 18, 2017 at 10:36 am

Thanks, TJ. The decision came exactly 61 days after the interview. Best of luck to you.

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 18, 2017 at 6:17 am

I think asylum officers are not receiving such orders. But I do think there is a problem with the asylum offices denying cases that should not be denied. We have had this happen a few times, and on a couple occasions, we went to court and the Judge and DHS attorney told me that they did not understand the referral and that they would agree to grant the case without testimony. Once, a judge told the DHS attorney to call the asylum office and complain about the decision (whether he actually called, I have no idea). I am not sure why this problem exists – it may be a lack of training, but it might also be that officers are under pressure not to grant too many cases. Anyway, I wish you good luck in court (and by the way, if you think the decision is particularly egregious, you can ask the asylum office to reconsider it, though in most cases, this does not work – if you want to try, ask your lawyer about that idea). Good luck, Jason

Reply

Harjap July 16, 2017 at 6:12 pm

Hi Jason,

I have received the notice of Action after submitting my EAD renewal documents from USCIS . How can I proof to my employer that i am still eligible to work for next 180 days after my old EAD expires on pending asylum?

Thank you

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 18, 2017 at 6:12 am

The receipt for the EAD renewal should indicate the 180-day extension. If not, I did a blog post on January 25, 2017. If you scroll to the bottom, there are links to government websites that explain the extension. Take care, Jason

Reply

Lina July 16, 2017 at 5:14 pm

Hey Jason
I use to read this interesting blog.
One of the interesting article I read was related to different asylum office with different approval rates. Can you please do research and tell us the reason of the approval gap between office. Is it due to asylum seekers profils(country of origine)?is it due to officers working on cases?.
Is difficult to understand how Texas/New York can have less than 30% of approval while San Francisco goes for closer to 80%.In my mind I guess there must be hard officers to win in some office than other or it can even be political strategy of some states.
Kindly

Reply

lulu July 17, 2017 at 6:38 am

I have found they just stop doing that since last year, my guess is they what a more evenly applicants spread out the different regions.

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 18, 2017 at 6:10 am

While there are external factors (like different countries of origin at different asylum offices), I think asylum rates mostly vary due to internal factors, such as the officers and supervisors in the office. There was a study of the LA asylum office and Chinese asylum cases, which showed one officer in LA granting only about 5% of Chinese cases, while another officer in LA grants over 80% of Chinese cases. The other officers fall in between. You can see the study in a book by Phil Schrage and David Kinney called “Asylum Denied”. Also, you can find much of the data that goes into that book if you Google an article called “Refugee Roulette”. Take care, Jason

Reply

Sara July 18, 2017 at 10:48 am

Hi Jason,
Given the existence of these internal factors, is it not wise to be filing in NY and offices with a low approval rate?
I’m starting to think it wasn’t smart of me to file before checking approval rates but, in my defense, I was younger and more hopeful back then, and naïvely thought the process was fair and only depended on the strength of one’s case.

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 19, 2017 at 6:08 am

Actually, for the most part, I think your younger self was correct that decisions depend mostly on the strength of the case (but not always). You could always move to a new jurisdiction, but if your case is strong and well-prepared, you should have a good chance for success wherever you are. In that study of the LA office, there were officers at the extreme (as I mentioned), but there were also lots of officers in the middle, where they – theoretically – should be. I just think playing the guessing game of which office is more like to grant is pointless. Better to spend your time prepaying a good case for the office you are in. Take care, Jason

Reply

Sara July 19, 2017 at 12:42 pm

Thank you for your reply, Jason.
I guess we’re all playing Refugee Roulette whether we like it or not.

Best,
Sara

MIRA July 15, 2017 at 8:46 pm

Actually me and my husband working for UK based company.In our country women are not welcome at all for working outside .I always raise my voice against this aggressive Muslim organisation, now they have a point that my child is US citizen and I do wrong against my religious emotions by giving birth my baby to a Non Muslim country like USA.And , now they threatened me to kidnapped my baby if I continue my social work as progressive women.I several times complain in my local police station but they never support me.This is my situation ..could you please advice me if I seek assylum for me and my husband life saving which is in danger in my home country .This is also related to my US citizen child life protection ,she is also in danger.Is this helpful or supporting for granted me and my husband assylum in USA.I have all related documents that’s proof my harassment in my country.
Will be very much thankful if you suggest me.

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 16, 2017 at 7:18 am

If terrorist (or the government) is threatening to harm you or your family because of your political views (you believe in women’s rights) or your religion (the bad guys believe you are an infidel), these are legitimate reasons to seek asylum. You need also show that you cannot relocate somewhere else inside your country and that (if the bad guys are not the government) the government cannot protect you. But it sounds like you have a case – if you want a full evaluation of your case, you need to talk to a lawyer, as I obviously do not know your whole story. Take care, Jason

Reply

Ibraheem July 15, 2017 at 6:56 pm

I’m from Pakistan. I belong to a persecuted minority in Pakistan. I came here and applied asylum in 2015. I’m currently waiting for the interview. I have work permit and I’m currently working as a doctor here. I met a Chinese girl here who was studying here. We wanna get married. What’s the best possible option for us. Should I update her as a dependent on my i-589 or should I wait till I get my green card? She’s not persecuted in China so will that affect my asylum case in any way? What do u think? Really want ur opinion on this. Thanks. Hope to hear back from u soon.

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 16, 2017 at 7:13 am

If she has no status in the US, it is probably better to add her as a dependent. It does not matter that she is not afraid of persecution in China. If she is your dependent, if you win, she also gets asylum, and if you lose, she will also be sent to court. However, if you do not add her to your asylum case, even if you win, it will be very difficult for you to petition for her – she may be required to leave the US and get her green card overseas, or you may have to wait years until you are a US citizen. In short, if you want to stay together and she needs you to get her status in the US, it is far better to add her to your asylum case now (once you are married). Contact the asylum office and they can tell you how to add a spouse to your case. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

Reply

prazit July 14, 2017 at 9:48 pm

Dear jason.Apreciated for valuable post.I am doing everything by seeing your post.Since asylum application (2015)to waitng of interview.I haven’t hierd lawyer yet.I am the person having trouble,as you said in your post.i am having very hard time because of my health,i am taking medicine for diabetes,hypertension also h pylori positive.I admitted hospital ER more than 5 times,it is very hard to struggle with health without health insurance,i am almost depressed.what can i do.

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 16, 2017 at 6:54 am

Finish your case and submit all documents, and gather the evidence of your health problems and submit that too with a request to expedite (as discussed in the above article and link). Health problems are a strong reason to expedite, and so hopefully, they will be able to give you a sooner interview date. Good luck, Jason

Reply

Ertugul July 14, 2017 at 9:44 pm

Hi Jason,
All we know that relocating from south California to the north California will affect pending cases to be re-routed from LA office to SF office. In my case (did the interview & pending decision) since more than 2.5 years, I just received a letter for interview reschedule in SF office immediately (after few days) I relocate to north Cal. I thought only the case will transfered, why they are asking me for extra interview? Is that regular?

One more thing, in the interview letter, they said : “as of today, your case is 294 days pending”. Although I submitted my case more than 1200 days ago, and the interview more than days 800 days ago?! No action taken sonce 294 days. Any advise?

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 16, 2017 at 6:52 am

I would ask about the 294 days at the interview. We had a client once relocate to SF and they interviewed him again, but in his case, there were issues they wanted to explore about a job in his country. My impression is that the SF office is pretty good, and so maybe they have more questions or were not satisfied with the notes from the first interview. I recommend you prepare as if this is a first interview, and also keep in mind that they wrote down what you said in the first interview, so you want to testify consistent with that. Take care, Jason

Reply

Jo July 14, 2017 at 6:11 pm

Hi Jason, quick question. I finally received my EAD but I noticed that the USCIS number has changed.My first EAD was for OPT after college and this one is for asylum. Should I be concerned about the number changing?

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 16, 2017 at 6:46 am

I think that is normal (you have one number for OPT, and another for asylum), so I would not worry about it. Take care, Jason

Reply

Muna July 14, 2017 at 5:02 pm

Hey Jason.

Quick question. I heard from some immigration lawyer s that a lot of asylum officers are being assigned to several states and that they are interviewing people randomly. So any one has a chance of getting called in to an interview with no regards to the date they filed their asylum claim. Can you tell me if this is a real info? Thanks a lot.

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 16, 2017 at 6:40 am

I have not heard that, though I believe Virginia (and maybe other offices) are interviewing people within a certain range of dates, so it is somewhat random. We have not actually seen any cases interviewed out of order yet, though, so I am not sure about that. If I hear something more, I will try to post about it. Take care, Jason

Reply

Sara July 14, 2017 at 1:41 pm

Does anyone worry that, in the case of not winning their case and being sent back to the country of feared persecution, they may never make it out of the airport? As in, the authorities there will have figured out that you must have applied for asylum being away for as long as you have on a visitor’s visa, and have obviously been denied and no one has your back now? As in, they not only know that you sought asylum (not very patriotic), but also that your claim had been rejected so they could pretty much do what they will with you?
A close friend, a humanitarian, had gotten arrested in my home country (not asylum related) and had all major local and international human rights organizations rallying for her release, but they still kept her for a couple of torturous years anyway until they graciously decided to let her go for a presidential PR stunt. These guys..they DGAF – excuse my French.
Anyway, was wondering if it’s just my anxious mind that worries about this.

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 16, 2017 at 6:36 am

We have not really seen this. We did have a prominent Egyptian client where the US embassy sent someone to meet him at the airport in Cairo so he would not be arrested (this was well before he sought asylum though). I do think there is a danger of being in a more vulnerable position after asylum is denied than before. However, if a person is that prominent that they would face arrest at the airport, they should have a very high probability of winning asylum. At least that is the theory. Take care, Jason

Reply

Sara July 16, 2017 at 6:43 pm

Thank you for your reply, Jason.
Not so coincidentally, I’m Egyptian too. Let’s just say that your client had every reason to be scared of getting arrested upon his return. They’re really good at kidbapping people and making them “vanish” with no record or trace.
Here’s hoping I never need to worry about that.

Thanks again,
Sara

Reply

Maurice July 14, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Hi Jason!
I filed for Asylum in August 2014. I live in the state the jurudisction of Chicago. It is showing that they are interviewing people filed in oct 2014-feb 2015. I havent received any appointment yet for the interview. Is my case lost? Are other offices you are aware consistent with the schedule bulletin? Is this a common issue. Thanks for everything.
Take care

Reply

Rita2017 July 14, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Try to visit the Chicago office and file the request. You are supposed to be very soon. I just received the approval from Chicago office today. Good luck!

Reply

Khalil July 15, 2017 at 3:26 pm

Hi
When did you file for asylum and when did you get interview? We have also applied in Chicago office
Thanks

Reply

Rita2017 July 17, 2017 at 3:13 pm

I applied in September 2013 but in another office and transfer my case to Chicago in march 2017. I also asked to be in the short notice list in may 2017. They called me for interview in June 17 and the approval July 2017. Good luck

Reply

Sara July 17, 2017 at 9:08 pm

Congrats, Rita! Glad you got a swift approval after waiting as long as you have to get interviewed.

Khalil July 15, 2017 at 3:35 pm

Hi Jason,
I have applied for EAD for the first time last week in Chicago office. How much time usually it takes to get it?

Anyone from Chicago who applied for EAD for the first time and waiting?

Reply

Asylum seeker July 15, 2017 at 4:29 pm

I applied 60 days ago and I am still waiting. It’s really frustrating

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 16, 2017 at 7:08 am

We are seeing EAD cases take between 2 and 4 months, but we do not have many cases in Chicago, so maybe someone else knows more than me about the time frame there. Take care, Jason

Reply

Maurice July 17, 2017 at 11:32 am

Hi Rita,
Which state do you live in if you don’t mind me asking? I live in Nebraska but the office under the asylum jurudisction is Chicago

Reply

Rita2017 July 19, 2017 at 9:22 pm

Same like you In Chicago but got my interview was in Nebraska.

Reply

Maurice July 17, 2017 at 11:34 am

Hi Rita,
Which state do you live in if you don’t mind me asking? I live in Nebraska but the office under the asylum jurudisction is Chicag

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 16, 2017 at 6:25 am

This does happen sometimes. Contact them (maybe by email) and tell them, and hopefully they should schedule you. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Also, make sure all your evidence is submitted so the case is ready to go. Take care, Jason

Reply

Sidali July 16, 2017 at 6:47 pm

Hi There,

I filed my asylum in Dec.2013. Chicago office. I got three EAD’s so far, the last one took four months!!! (last year).
However now, few days ago I received a notice for interview scheduled late this month. now am preparing for the interview with my lawyer.
I guess yes, it is random. call the office it might help.
Good luck and God Bless.

Reply

lulu July 14, 2017 at 1:15 am

pretty ironic that people came here searching for the freedom and American dreams and end up with another persecution.

Reply

Bianca July 14, 2017 at 12:14 pm

So sad indeed. Sometime you wonder whether being asylum seeker is somehow means to not be considered in the society.

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 14, 2017 at 5:01 pm

I agree. Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. Take care, Jason

Reply

john July 13, 2017 at 9:22 pm

Hi Jason, hope all has been well.
I have a question regarding my EAD renewal.
I have applied my EAD renewal before 120 days of expiration date, but I couldn’t receive still now and even the online case status is not changed.
I do want to show the receipt that allow employers to keep workers for 180 days. However, I lost my receipt,
is there any way to get the receipt again from USCIS?
And how long will it take approximately?
Thanks

Reply

lulu July 14, 2017 at 1:18 am

pretty wired that prob the immigration issue is the only field the new president deal with but it became more messy than before…if you don’t know how to do it, just stop doing anything.

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 14, 2017 at 4:56 pm

I am not sure how to get a new receipt – you can call them and ask (their phone number can be found at http://www.uscis.gov – you can also make an infopass appointment to go there in person to ask about this, if you prefer). Also, if you can get a copy of the check from your bank, USCIS stamps the case # on the check. You can use that to get your case status on-line, and maybe the employer would accept that. Take care, Jason

Reply

john July 15, 2017 at 12:40 pm

Thank you so much Jason!

Reply

Alex July 13, 2017 at 7:01 pm

Thank you dear Jason for everything that you’ve done for these people in these years.
Do you have any rough wait estimate for short list in Arlington office?
Does it really work faster than normal ?
How should we ask to be entered the list?
Do they accept requests for entering the list through their email?
Do you know how are priorities in short list (based on case filed date or entering the short list date)?
Thank you again.

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 14, 2017 at 6:41 am

I do not have a rough wait time, but my associate the other day told me that she thought it was over a year (where she heard that, I did not ask). It can be faster than normal, but there is no downside – you add your name to the list, and you might be called based on the short list or based on the regular queue, whichever comes first (though if you are on the short list, make sure your case is complete and submitted). Contact the local asylum office to ask them to put your name on the short list (yes, you can do that by email). You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Short list cases are supposedly called in the order they are placed on the list. Take care, Jason

Reply

Lala July 13, 2017 at 2:00 pm

Hello Jason, thank you so much for your help! I have two questions please: 1) can I travel with advance parole while I don’t have valid passport? If not what option do I have to travel outside the country as pending asylum seeker? 2) Im pending my case decision for security checks, do you know any case that was denied after long security checks? And if they want to deny why they would reffer a case for security checks? Im Syrian, thanks a lot!

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 14, 2017 at 6:26 am

1 – Advance Parole allows you to return to the US, but it is not a travel document (if you win asylum, you can get a Refugee Travel Document, which can be used as a passport for many countries). I think you will need a passport to travel. Of course, if you renew your passport, it could negatively affect your asylum case (especially if you fear harm from your government; the same government that will issue the passport). Without a passport, I do not know how you could travel overseas. 2 – We did once have a case denied after a long security check. I was very angry about it, as it was a bad denial (and if I remember correctly, the person got asylum in court). That has only happened to us one time, so maybe it is not common. Why they would cause a long delay and then deny, I do not know. Take care, Jason

Reply

Lala July 16, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Thanks a lot Jason! The thing is that I recently got approved for TPS and all security checks were cleared for TPS (also after a long wait and it only moved through the ombudsman). Do you have any idea if the security check I had for TPS could help to move the security check for asylum faster? Thank you, thank you!!

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 18, 2017 at 6:06 am

Security checks are a mystery, and my impression is that a security check for TPS has little or no effect on an asylum security check. Though you’d expect that if you “pass” one check, you would pass them all, so in that sense, I guess it is a good sign. Take care, Jason

Reply

Hope July 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm

Thank to everyone for your contributions. Any first EAD filler from Nebraska? I’m at day 93 today and still case was received. It’s so stressful

Reply

kar July 13, 2017 at 2:19 pm

hi hope,
i applied to the Nebraska service center too and we have the same time frame. the good news is that they jist updated the processing time. check it out https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/processingTimesDisplay.do;jsessionid=abcyOFQSMHJ_y9ETuk90v
we should be good in the next couple of days.. hopefully.

Reply

Asylee July 13, 2017 at 4:18 pm

First EAD, Nebraska. At day 63. Case was recieved.

Reply

Asylum seeker July 13, 2017 at 6:29 pm

Those processing times don’t mean anything. According to them Nebraska processes EAD based on pending asylum in 15 days, but most people wait between 60-120 days. So I don’t know why they waste their time on putting that info there.

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 14, 2017 at 6:39 am

I agree that the posted processing times are not so useful, though they are all we have from the government. Take care, Jason

Reply

Hope July 16, 2017 at 6:39 pm

Thank you Kar. Please let me know in case you get any update in your case

Reply

Hope July 17, 2017 at 7:28 pm

Hello Kar! Did you get any update on your case? I’m day 97 today still nothing. I know we applied at the same time from the same service center( Nebraska) I’m so desperate

Reply

kar July 19, 2017 at 12:29 am

sorry, nothing yet. unfortunately 😐
it sucks!

Reply

Asylum seeker July 13, 2017 at 6:22 pm

Nebraska, 76 days here, “Case Received”. Stressful.

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 14, 2017 at 6:21 am

If you received the receipt, you should be fine (though you have to wait longer then you – or anyone else – would want). Take care, Jason

Reply

Josh L July 13, 2017 at 10:08 am

(Not a question)
Just wanna share that USCIS updated the interview schedule for asylum. There’s a huge leap forward.

Reply

Ella July 13, 2017 at 10:41 am

Yeh, at least my main office (Arlington) is moving way fast , but my sub office (Atlanta) doesn’t (((((((

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 14, 2017 at 6:14 am

We just had an interview in Atlanta yesterday, so it is moving too. Take care, Jason

Reply

Ella July 15, 2017 at 8:19 pm

Wow! Could you ,please, tell me the time frame of this case? How it went?

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 16, 2017 at 7:16 am

If I remember correctly, I think they filed in about March or April 2014. Take care, Jason

Sara July 13, 2017 at 12:36 pm

I came here to say the same thing about the update. NY is slowwwww, though. February 2015 being done over 3 months! But at least they started on March. I filed in April so I’m on my tippiest of tippy toes. 😒

Reply

lulu July 13, 2017 at 8:56 pm

Based on the fact people now is facing up with a longer decision-making period, the total process can even be longer than before. What became worse is that before the interview, you have sort of the sense how long you’d have to wait to be interviewed, but, when the interview is done then your wait now turns to be unplanned!!

Reply

Sara July 13, 2017 at 9:01 pm

So true. It’s a whole other nightmare.
I’m trying to worry about one thing at a time. The interview feels like this very tough exam that you’ve prepared for all you can and done all your studying, and now you just want to get it over with already.

Reply

L.f July 13, 2017 at 10:53 pm

Based on all comments that i read before and my analysis that I’ve done, waiting time for interview in NY office is 2 years and 8 months

Jason Dzubow July 14, 2017 at 6:14 am

We are seeing this on the ground too – More of our clients are being interviewed in Virginia and other offices too. One reason may be that some cases from 2014 were interviewed in 2014, and so now they are doing the remaining cases. If they had finished most of the April 2014 cases previously, they can move through the remaining cases in that month more quickly. Once we reach a point where they have not worked on cases (January 2015 in my local office), the Scheduling Bulletin may move more slowly, even if they are doing a lot of interviews. Thank you for the comment, Jason

Reply

wal July 12, 2017 at 11:49 pm

Thank you very much your post is awesome .It is been more than 8-months since I did my asylum interview ,my decision on hold according to last inquired .I don’t know how long is going to hold a year or a years am from ban country . and also separated family from my kids ,wife …Recently am stressful and tensional and caused i have disease from this named Vitilgo and i notice it is break out in my hand finger . I need my decision grant or refer to court really it is bad situation to wait for asylum office in dark .Any advise

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 13, 2017 at 6:28 am

If you can get a doctor’s note (or some evidence) of the health problems and stress, or about any problems for your family back home, you can give it to the asylum office and ask for a sooner decision. You can also inquire with the USCIS Ombudsman – a link is at right. If none of that helps, you can file a mandamus lawsuit – talk to a lawyer about that, but try the other ideas first. Good luck, Jason

Reply

wal July 13, 2017 at 7:59 am

Thank you for you kind reply , inquired my case in march 2017 the asylum office inform my they can’t issue any decision unless all security check come clear (no thing in their hand to do ) only hold and wait ..for how long no body knows ?. in this case the your above advise works ?

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 14, 2017 at 6:10 am

Many of my clients experience this, and the wait can be very long. You can keep inquiring now and again. You can also contact the USCIS Ombudsman – a link is at right. If things are taking too long for you, you can try a mandamus lawsuit – talk to a lawyer about that if you want to try. Take care, Jason

Reply

wal July 14, 2017 at 6:44 pm

T

wal July 14, 2017 at 6:46 pm

Thank you very much, i will try Ombudsman , Can you advise me about good lower in TX

lulu July 12, 2017 at 11:29 pm

The words ‘re really supportive and encouraging!! God bless!

Reply

L.f July 12, 2017 at 7:43 pm

Hi Jason
I’m gonna try to explain my situation
I’m separate from my family and my fiancé 3 years from now, still waiting for interview. Some of my family members died during this time, like aunt, grandfather, 2 of my good friends, and all of this give me to much pain
I’m working, paying taxes, never got a ticket, good credit…
My question is: do this help me in interview?!
Thank you very much Jason

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 13, 2017 at 6:22 am

It may help a little – besides showing eligibility for asylum, you also have to show that you deserve asylum as a matter of discretion. All that you describe may help you show that you deserve asylum as a matter of discretion. Certainly, too, it shows the tragedy of these very long delays. Many people are suffering problems like yours and it is a great difficulty. Take care, Jason

Reply

Hope July 12, 2017 at 7:11 pm

USA is the best country the world had ever known. It is an honor and huge blessing to be the citizen of this country, we only dream and hope to become someday

Reply

Hopeless July 12, 2017 at 4:17 pm

Jason
U are right I am confused and you wrote my problem.
ince Donald Trump came to power I fainted twice and entered hospital by emergency where they requested me to pay 6000 USD I fainted twice and entered hospital where they requested me to pay 6000 USD bills but they send me letters day in and day out that stressed me to this level. No proper job, case delayed interview, separated from family, hospital Bill as night mare I need help
I can show the letters
Who can help me? My lawyer tells me to wait for their call but process is too long
How long shall I wait ?
I am still depressed
Need help

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 13, 2017 at 6:13 am

I provide some suggestions in the article above, including links to prior posts I did about expediting your case. Maybe you want to try that. Good luck, Jason

Reply

Kris July 12, 2017 at 3:40 pm

Thank you Mr. Jason for supportive post. I believe wait time is torture especially in the case of family separation. I hope the government find some solution to speed up the process for many people.

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 13, 2017 at 6:11 am

For what it’s worth, processing times are getting a bit faster – this is because the Trump Administration has scared people from coming to the US and/or blocked them from coming here. Since there are fewer people entering the system, people in the queue already are seeing their cases move more quickly (though the waits are still very long). Take care, Jason

Reply

Sara July 13, 2017 at 12:43 pm

It’s torture, indeed. For someone who already suffers from anxiety, this process has taken a major toll on my wellbeing. I keep myself going by drawing strength from the love I have for my child whom I’m doing this for.
Keep pushing, Kris, and good luck.

Reply

Anonimous July 12, 2017 at 1:15 pm

Who do I have to piss off to get my garbage US citizenship cancelled?

Reply

Kris July 12, 2017 at 3:33 pm

Yourself may be. And I don’t understand why you’d think it’s a garbage. It is an honor to be a US citizen for most if not all citizens.

Reply

Hope July 12, 2017 at 7:11 pm

USA is the best country the world had ever known. It is an honor and huge blessing to be the citizen of this country, we only dream and hope to become someday

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 13, 2017 at 6:07 am

The Man.

Reply

Sara July 13, 2017 at 1:46 pm

It might help you appreciate what you’ve taken for granted a little more when you see that there are people who have left top management jobs behind, fancy cars and homes only to come here seeking refuge and going through their savings while waiting on employment cards, and interviews. I don’t blame you at all for not seeing that. It makes sense when you’ve been born into privilege that you didn’t have to fight to earn.

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 14, 2017 at 6:23 am

Well said – especially the last two sentences. Maybe I should recruit you for a blog post…

Reply

Sara July 14, 2017 at 1:14 pm

I hope it’s not too weird that I took a screenshot of this, and may be framing it.
It’s like getting a compliment from Oprah, only better. 🙂

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 16, 2017 at 6:30 am

Oh boy. Just don’t expect a free car anytime soon…

Sara July 17, 2017 at 9:12 pm

Haha yes, Oprah minus the shilling! XD

Tina July 15, 2017 at 1:52 am

You just described me.

Reply

Sara July 17, 2017 at 9:17 pm

Do you have friends from your fancy past trying to visit you here, too? Mine won’t quit, and they don’t know why I’m here or how bad things have gotten for me since they last saw me, so I do everything I can to dodge the meet-ups. 100 percent successful so far – lonely, yes, but at least I don’t have to deal with pity. LOL

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 16, 2017 at 6:47 am

I cannot make recommendations here, but you can start with non-profit organizations and if they cannot help you, maybe they can refer you to a lawyer. I did a posting on September 22, 2016 that has links to lists of non-profits. Take care, Jason

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 14, 2017 at 5:00 pm

But remember that the time frames are always changing, so it is difficult to predict. Take care, Jason

Reply

Jason Dzubow July 25, 2017 at 6:36 am

The lawyer can usually only ask questions or make a statement at the end of the interview. The lawyer helps you prepare the documents and prepare yourself to answer questions. Also, the lawyer should take notes about what you say at the interview. I personally think it is good to have someone with you at the interview, as it may help ensure that the asylum officer does not do anything that he/she is not supposed to do (most officers are very good, but if you get a bad one, it is helpful to have a lawyer with you). Take care, Jason

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: