We’re All in Atlanta Now

by Jason Dzubow on July 19, 2017

Atlanta, Georgia is generally considered to have the most difficult Immigration Court in the country. Now, the Trump Administration has tapped attorneys from the Atlanta Office of the Chief Counsel (the “prosecutors” in Immigration Court) to take charge of the Immigration Courts and the “prosecutors” offices for the entire United States. A third Atlanta attorney has been appointed to a key policy-making position at the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”).

If you’re feeling down about Georgia exports, here’s something to love.

Before we get to those attorneys, let’s first talk about Atlanta. The average grant rate for asylum cases across the U.S. is just under 50%. The asylum grant rate at the Atlanta Immigration Court is less than 9%. Also, immigrant advocates have frequently complained about due process issues and the treatment of litigants in the Atlanta court.

It’s true that the Office of the Chief Counsel (“OCC”) and the Immigration Court are independent of each other, but I think we can safely glean a few things about the Atlanta OCC from what we know of the Court.

For one, since Immigration Judges will usually grant cases where the parties agree on relief, it seems likely that OCC attorneys in Atlanta rarely determine that a case should be approved for asylum. Of course, we do not know about the quality of the asylum cases in Atlanta—maybe they are unusually weak (a real possibility since sophisticated litigants will avoid Atlanta due to its low grant rate). But it would be strange indeed if almost no cases there meet the relatively low threshold required for asylum. The fact that the OCC is not stipulating to asylum on occasion indicates that they are taking a very hard line against such cases (this contrasts with many other jurisdictions, where the local OCCs regularly conclude that applicants qualify for asylum). The job of OCC attorneys is not merely to deport as many people as possible; they are supposed to do justice. This means agreeing to relief where it is appropriate. The low grant rate in Atlanta may indicate that OCC lawyers there are prioritizing “winning” over doing justice, and ideology above the law—all worrying signs as these attorneys move into national leadership positions.

Second, whether the asylum cases in Atlanta are strong or weak, I suspect that the high denial rate there colors the view of the OCC attorneys. If those attorneys believe that over 90% of asylum seekers are unworthy of relief—either because they do not meet the requirements for asylum or because they are lying about their claims—it seems likely that these attorneys will develop a jaundiced view of such cases, and maybe of immigrants in general.

Finally, there exists at least one instance of the Atlanta OCC taking an overly-aggressive position in a case involving alleged racial profiling by ICE (if OCC attorneys are the prosecutors, ICE officers are the police). In that case, an Immigration Judge in Atlanta ordered the OCC to produce an ICE agent accused of racial profiling. The OCC refused to produce the agent, and ultimately, the Judge ruled that the agents had engaged in “egregious” racial profiling and the OCC attorneys had committed “willful misconduct” by refusing to bring the agents to court. While the three OCC attorneys at issue here had left the Atlanta office by the time of this case, the OCC’s position again points to an agency willing to put “winning” ahead of justice.

With this background in mind, let’s turn to the alumnus of the Atlanta OCC who will be taking charge of our immigration system.

Tracy Short – ICE Principal Legal Advisor: Tracy Short is the new Principal Legal Advisor for ICE. In that capacity, he “oversees the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor, the largest legal program within the Department of Homeland Security, comprised of more than 1,100 attorneys and 300 support professionals throughout the United States.” These are the attorneys who serve as “prosecutors” in Immigration Court, among their other tasks. According to his ICE biography, “From 2009 to 2015, Mr. Short served as the Deputy Chief Counsel in the ICE Atlanta Office of Chief Counsel.” Mr. Short also served on the committee staff for Congressman Bob Goodlatte, the staunch anti-immigration representative from Virginia.

While Mr. Short has impressive litigation experience, he has almost no management experience (as Deputy Chief Counsel, he might have supervised a few dozen people, at most). But now, under the Trump Administration, he is overseeing more than 1,400 lawyers and staff. Like his fellow veterans of the Atlanta OCC, I suspect he was chosen more for his ideological views than for his management background.

James McHenry – Acting Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (“EOIR”): In a move characterized as “unusual” by retired Immigration Judge and former Chairman of the Board of Immigration Appeals Paul Wickham Schmidt, the Attorney General has appointed James McHenry as the new Acting Director of EOIR, the office that oversees the nation’s immigration court system. Judge Schmidt notes that, “While Judge McHenry has stellar academic and professional credentials, and is an ‘EOIR vet,’ having served as a Judicial Law Clerk/Attorney Adviser in the Buffalo and Baltimore Immigration Courts, it is unusual in my experience for the acting head of EOIR to come from outside the ranks of current or former members of the Senior Executive Service, since it is a major executive job within the DOJ.” In other words, while Judge McHenry has had significant legal experience, he has very little leadership experience, especially at EOIR.

Indeed, Judge Schmidt’s characterization of Judge McHenry as an “EOIR vet” seems overly generous. He served as a Judicial Law Clerk, which is basically a one or two year gig for new law school graduates working as an assistant to Immigration Judges (I myself was a JLC back in the prediluvian era) and he has a few months experience as an Administrative Law Judge for the Office of Chief Administrative Hearing Officer, an office at EOIR that reviews certain employment cases involving immigrants.

Like Mr. Short, Judge McHenry worked for the Atlanta OCC. He served as an Assistant Chief Counsel for ICE in that office from 2005 to 2010.

Whether Judge McHenry’s “acting” role as Director of EOIR will become permanent, we do not know. But I agree with Judge Schmidt that it is highly unusual for a person with such limited management experience to be picked to head our country’s immigration court system, with hundreds of judges and support personnel to oversee.

Gene Hamilton – Counsel to DHS Secretary: Gene Hamilton was appointed as counsel to DHS Secretary John Kelly. Along with Stephen Miller, he was apparently a key architect of the Trump Administration’s travel ban against people from several majority-Muslim countries. He also served as a trial attorney at the Atlanta OCC in about 2014 and 2015, though I could not verify his length of service there. In addition, Mr. Hamilton served on the staff of Senator  Jefferson Beauregard Sessions before he was appointed Attorney General. Mr. Sessions, of course, is well known for his regressive views on immigration, civil rights, and just about everything else.

So there you have it. Three veterans of the Atlanta OCC who together will be exercising significant control over our country’s immigration system. Given their backgrounds and experience (or lack thereof), it’s difficult to be optimistic about how that system will fare under their watch.

{ 128 comments… read them below or add one }

Zax August 12, 2017 at 11:35 am

Hi Jason,
As my interview is seeming not to happen any time soon, I am now contemplating to go to another country. While discussing on the issue, I was told by my lawyer that I have to sign a letter to his office that I am dropping my case. Why do I need to sign a letter to my lawyer that I am dropping my case? Is there any future legal implication in doing so?
Once again thanks so much
Best,
Zax

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Jason Dzubow August 14, 2017 at 9:35 pm

I do not know, but maybe the lawyer wants to make sure you do not come back later and try to blame him for not completing the case (it is called COA – cover your ass). If you leave, I do recommend that you or your lawyer inform the asylum office. That way, hopefully you can avoid a deportation order, and then it may be easier for you to return to the US if you ever want to come back. You can find the asylum office’s contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

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Qudrat August 2, 2017 at 1:40 pm

Hi Jason,
I am asylum applicant and my case is rejected by USCIS asylum office and is sent to immigration court NY. I have to wait for at least three years for court decision.
If I go back to my country, can I visit again USA may be as United Nations staff. It has been three years that I am waiting for my pending asylum. I have heard that I will be charged for over-staying three years and will not be allowed for at least nine years to re-enter again USA.

Thank you

Qudrat

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MAZ August 3, 2017 at 3:35 am

Hi,

Sorry to hear that but don’t lose hope you will win your case in immigration court, when did you interviewed at NY Asylum office and how long to get you the decision,

I am also waiting for interview, your response will be appreciated,

Thanks and take care

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Jason Dzubow August 3, 2017 at 11:20 am

Whether you are barred from returning depends on various factors, and I do not know about your case, so I cannot say. Most asylum seekers do not have a bar to returning, but it depends on the case. If you decide to leave, you can ask the Judge for “voluntary departure” (assuming you are eligible) and if you get that, it will be easier to return in the future. Also, if you come back with a UN passport, you may be able to return even if you have a bar, but I am not sure and I would suggest you talk to a lawyer to research that before you make your final decision about what to do. Take care, Jason

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Fr July 27, 2017 at 9:28 pm

Hi Dear Jason , how much time take that you can get your greencard after you send adjustment form I 485 ?

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Jason Dzubow July 28, 2017 at 6:28 am

It is very unpredictable, but most cases seem to take 6 months to a year. Take care, Jason

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L,f July 26, 2017 at 7:32 pm

Hello Jason, thank again for everything you doing here
I work as a manager on my cousin pizza shop…
My cousin wants to give me all the pizza shop…
I’m still waiting to be interviewed, can this help me with the interview or can I transfer the pizza shop in my name or is any problem ? Thank you
God bless you Jason

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Jason Dzubow July 27, 2017 at 6:26 am

As long as you are legally allowed to work, transferring the pizza shop to you should not have any effect on an asylum case. If you ultimately have to leave the US, you should have a lot of advanced notice about that, so you should be able to sell the shop if needed, but hopefully you can just stay and create the next Papa Johns. Take care, Jason

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ET July 26, 2017 at 12:33 pm

Hey Jason how are you doing?
I wanted to know that i have recently got an EAD and SSN and i am still waiting for my green card i just wanted to know as i applied for my asylum on Sep 2016, how much time it will require me to get my green card approximately and secondly can i get married to a non- US citizen if he comes to a visit to US and file for his asylum as well? And what if i get married to H1B/L1 will it affect my asylum case. Please let me know your best possible answers. Thanks

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Rayan July 26, 2017 at 3:46 pm

You can apply for GC after 1year of granted asylum

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Jason Dzubow July 27, 2017 at 6:14 am

I do not understand the question. If you are waiting for your asylum interview, you can check the Asylum Office Scheduling Bulletin (a link is at right) to get some idea about when that will be. If you have won asylum, you must wait one year and then you can apply for a green card. Since I am not sure about your situation, I really do not know how to answer the other questions, but if you have asylum pending and you marry someone, that person can be added to your asylum case. And generally speaking, that person’s visa status should nope affect your asylum case. Take care, Jason

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Rkumar July 26, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Hello Jason,
I was forgot to send my pending asylum receipt with my EAD renewal, How can I send it now and my application is still pending they did not request any additional proof yet.
Thank you.

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Jason Dzubow July 27, 2017 at 6:11 am

Probably it is better to wait for them and send it if they ask for it. But if you have your receipt number, you can write a letter with the receipt number (and maybe a copy of the receipt) and explain what happened, and then include a copy of the asylum receipt. Take care, Jason

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M July 26, 2017 at 11:05 am

Want to share my recent experience.
The case is pending, applied for a new EAD card. The existing one expires on August, 2nd. Figured out that I wouldn’t get it on time (it won’t affect my employment eligibility, though, due to the automatic 180 days extension). My driver license also expires on Aug 2nd. Went to the DMV, explained that I want to renew the license for 180 days because my EAD is extended. It took about 40 minutes for an officer to call somebody, run the checks and deny extending the license. He stated that he checked something ‘in the system’ and didn’t see my EAD extended. So, I assume, I won’t get a new license till a new EAD arrives.

Jason, have you (your clients) come across this issue? Is my best bet just to wait till my EAD arrives?

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Jason Dzubow July 27, 2017 at 6:36 am

It may depend on the state and the DMV office, but we have had people extend DLs based on the pending renewal of the EAD, so you might want to try again. On January 25, 2017, I did a posting with links to the government websites about the 180 day extension – maybe some of those would help, especially the relevant pages of the CFR. Take care, Jason

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lulu July 26, 2017 at 7:32 am

huge of cases in SF got delayed after the interview, no result and ppl can do nothing about it, waiting period could be as long as over two yrs.

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Alan July 26, 2017 at 3:57 pm

Hi Lulu,
Looks like delays everywhere. Over two years is too long. How do you know that about SF office?

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lulu July 26, 2017 at 7:26 am

they should not apply any new tighten up policy on those who have already taken the interview….does not make sense…and they obviously forgot what have been making this country great.

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Lilian July 26, 2017 at 1:26 am

Hello Jason
First of all I have to thank you for your great articles and your efforts to help asylum seekers.
I filled my asylum application on July 2016.I am from one of those banned counties.I want to withdraw my case for some reasons and leave USA.Will I be able to come back to USA (for scientific seminars or researches) in a couple of years later?
My kids are on my file and they are under 15 years old.Is there any negative impact for them to get USA visa in the future?

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Jason Dzubow July 26, 2017 at 6:34 am

Probably it will be more difficult for you to get a new visa to the US, since you filed for asylum, and this might be true for your children as well (assuming the ban is not in effect by then). You should withdraw your asylum case with the asylum office, and this might require giving them proof that you left the US. Contact them to ask. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. If you do not withdraw the case, you (and your family member dependents) will eventually get a deportation order, and this will make it much harder for you (and them) to return to the US, especially in the next 5 or 10 years, so try to avoid that by withdrawing the case. Take care, Jason

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Lilian July 26, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Hello
Thank you for your reply.So will it possible for my kids to apply for US universities in the future if I withdraw the case?
Can I apply for NIW category of green card from outside of USA?
Thanks a lot

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Jason Dzubow July 27, 2017 at 6:17 am

They and you can apply for these things, but it may be more difficult to get a visa given that you previously filed for asylum. Take care, Jason

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Lilian July 27, 2017 at 2:01 pm

You are helpful all the time.I appreciate it.There is one more question for me.As an academic person I do like to attend to some scientific events in the future in USA.For how long getting visa will be problematic for me in the future on your opinion?
I have heard that there is a cutt off time about 5 to 10 years after withdrawing the asylum case.Is it right?
I thank you so much.

MND July 25, 2017 at 11:50 pm

Hi Jason,
I am dependent on my wife asylum case, I am on travel outside the US on advance parole. My wife got the interview notice today and I still can not come back on time to attend the interview. Is it ok for my wife to have the interview without me?, will I be able to come back if she is not approved?. If she is approved will I be in the same status as hers or she need to make a family reunion. What if we ask for another appointment of the interview. Please I need your advice urgently. Thanks.

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Jason Dzubow July 26, 2017 at 6:31 am

If you do not attend the interview, you cannot be approved with her. However, if she is approved, she can file the form I-730 for you. As long as the asylum case is still active, you should be able to return, but if the case is denied and sent to court, or just denied (if your wife has some other status here), then I think you will not be able to return (but I am not sure – you might get into the US anyway, since you still have the valid AP – talk to a lawyer to check that). Also, if you are in the home country, where your wife fears persecution, your wife might need to explain at her interview why it is safe for you to go there. Take care, Jason

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Nola July 25, 2017 at 6:26 pm

Hi Jason,
Thanks so much for all your assistance and guidance. Please i would like to know when i can apply for EAD. The date on my asylum receipt is April 28th, 2017.
Thanks and Regards,
Nola

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Jason Dzubow July 26, 2017 at 6:22 am

You have to wait 150 days and then you can apply, so that should be about September 28, 2017. Take care, Jason

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Nola July 30, 2017 at 6:15 pm

Ok Thank you so much. I appreciate your help and guidance. May God bless you

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Patricia July 25, 2017 at 11:43 am

I had filed for asylum before my visitor 1-94 6 months expired. My case has been referred to Immigration court by Arlington Asylum office. Am I still in period of authorized stay? Can I pursue EB5 visa without leaving the country? Do you file for EB5 or can you refer me to someone who does?

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Jason Dzubow July 26, 2017 at 6:14 am

If your I-94 expired, you are no longer in a period of authorized stay and you would need to leave the US in order to get a GC based on EB-5. If you filed for asylum before the 6-month period, you have no unlawful presence, which means that you probably can leave, get the GC at a US embassy, and return. However, there are exceptions to these situations, and I do not know your case, so talk to a lawyer before you start this process to make sure you can complete it. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow July 26, 2017 at 6:40 am

Sorry, I should also have said that if you are in court, you cannot leave the country and return, at least until you close the court case. In other words, while it might technically be possible to get an EB-5, leave the US, and return, it will be very difficult and will require you to first close the court case, which the US government may not agree to do. Hopefully, a lawyer can help you with the case. Take care, Jason

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Sara July 25, 2017 at 11:23 am

NY AO reporting that they’re caught up to March 2015 on the scheduling bulletin, yet my lawyer only just had a January 2015 case called for an interview.
Anyone NY applicants on here get called in recently? What month and year had you applied?

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Sara July 25, 2017 at 11:24 am

Any* NY applicants

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L,f July 26, 2017 at 8:24 am

Did you apply in April 2015 ?
If yes be prepared for interview between January and March 2018 !

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Sara July 26, 2017 at 10:12 am

Hey L.F.,
So the bulletin as far as the NY AO is concerned is just for decoration, I suppose? They’re supposed to be on March 2015 so only a month away from me, yet this does not seem to be what’s actually happening IRL, and I’m inclined to believe that you’re right about your prediction.
I’ve been getting my hopes up for some relief soon, and waiting until 2018 will just suck a whole lot.
When did you apply? Do you know, from other applicants, what month they’re REALLY on? Like I said, my lawyer told me one of her Jan. 2015s just got called up.

Thanks

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L,f July 26, 2017 at 11:18 am

I’m in NY too, I applied in may 2015, based on my analysis and everything I’ve read on this blog, on conversation that i have with ppl , I’m waiting to be called in 2018( jan-mar)…
And as I heard, before thay give you a time 1 month before interview, now they can give you a time maybe one week, so don’t surprise… if you have any information please write here, i know you are regular here lol

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Sara July 26, 2017 at 11:32 am

Thanks for all the info!
And, yes, I’ve been on here quite a bit lately! Maybe I need to obsess less about the case, if that’s at all possible 🙂
I’ll post any updates I have, and you do the same please.

Have a good one.
Sara

Sam A July 25, 2017 at 6:16 am

Dear Jason,

In view of current asylum seeking situation in US, I am intending to go to Canada through undesignated border crossing with my family. We do not have Canadian visa, we arrived in US on B1/B2 visas about a month ago, we still have FIVE months legal status here.

Can anyone tell me, Can US Border Patrol arrest us at U.S. side while making our way towards border crossing? keeping in mind we still have legal status.

Thanks so much in advance.

champlain to Hemmingford

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Jason Dzubow July 25, 2017 at 6:39 am

We have had clients who were returned by the Canadian authorities and then detained in the US. Talk to a lawyer in Canada before you try this, to make sure you are eligible to seek asylum there. Also, we have a posting here from March 31, 2016 that might be helpful. Take care, Jason

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Sam A July 27, 2017 at 1:21 am

Sir,

I read the March 31, 2016 post, it is more about people go to Canada through designated border crossing. I question was about “undesignated” border crossing where STA becomes invalid.

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Jason Dzubow July 27, 2017 at 6:31 am

I do not know about that – You would have to talk to a lawyer in Canada. Take care, Jason

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Runner July 27, 2017 at 7:37 am

Hey Sam A , I can help you with that , just contact me somehow so I can share my insights about this

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Alex July 24, 2017 at 11:47 pm

Dear Jason
My current status is asylum pending and I won’t be interviewed in 2 next years. Can I start EB2/EB3 visa process and finally after adjustment withdraw my asylum case? Doesn’t this make any problem for me in future? Do you accept EB2/3 cases as an attorney?

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Jason Dzubow July 25, 2017 at 6:26 am

You may be eligible for that, but you might have to leave the US to get your green card, which may or may not be legally possible, depending on your case. Talk to a lawyer to make sure you can finish the process before you start spending money on this. In my office, we can do EB-2, but not EB-3, though I will not be able to take new cases until mid-August. Take care, Jason

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Alex July 26, 2017 at 6:27 pm

As I searched on the internet for applying for EB2 adjustment you should have lawful status . Is Asylum pending considered as a lawful status or is authorized presence only ?

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Jason Dzubow July 27, 2017 at 6:22 am

You do not need lawful status to apply for EB-2. However, unless you have lawful status, you would need to leave the US to get the green card, which is possible in some situation, but not others. “Asylum pending” is not lawful status for this purpose. So unless you have some other status, you would need to leave the US to get a GC based on EB-2 (which may not be possible, and also, there are (rare) exceptions to this rule – so talk to a lawyer if you want to try). Take care, Jason

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April July 24, 2017 at 5:35 pm

Thank you for this thorough article, Jason. Certainly a reason to be concerned. My husband had filed for withholding of removal at the border and the judge at his master hearing (no lawyer present – we expected a pro bono but she did not come) denied him and put in a deportation order. I am worried my husband used the word asylum and that they treated it as an asylum case when it is also a request to withhold removal? He had a cover letter from my attorney in Chicago and a i589. Can he put in a deportation order that fast?
The judge told him not to waste money on a lawyer right now.. that legally even if he had credible fear, they were not obligated to let him stay.. That he could appeal and wait 6 to 9 months “but no guarantees” or go back to Mexico and have me, his wife, try to apply for him a different way. 🙁 Looking for your insight, Jason. Thank you.

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Jason Dzubow July 25, 2017 at 6:21 am

He may not be eligible for asylum (usually if he had a prior deportation order), but certainly he is eligible for Withholding of Removal and Torture Convention relief. I have no idea what the judge was telling him, but that sounds very wrong. I recommend you talk to a lawyer about the specifics of his case to see whether anything can be done. Take care, Jason

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April July 26, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Thanks Jason! We are appealing. This is what happens when you go to court without a lawyer I believe. I so wish I was in Florida or the case was near me. Frustrating. Thank you for your blog.

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Ella July 24, 2017 at 2:27 pm

HI, thanks for this article, but if I could only knew about that two years ago, when I moved my case from NY to Arlington.
But finally my waiting period is coming to it’s end, I’ve got my IL and am preparing for it. Could you , please, tell me where should I send my evidence and supporting docs? My interview will be hold at Atl office.
P.S. btw when I moved my case from one AO to another AO it was placed right into my filling time ,not in the end of queue .

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Jason Dzubow July 25, 2017 at 6:18 am

Fro an interview in Atlanta, you should file it with the Arlington asylum office, and you have to do that at least one week before the interview, and preferably as soon as possible. Also, if you mail it, keep a copy of the mailing receipt and a copy of all documents. Arlington has been losing a lot of documents lately, and so make sure you have a copy for yourself and proof of mailing. Good luck, Jason

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Ella July 25, 2017 at 2:21 pm

Thank you for the response, it is highly appreciated! Wish you could be my lawyer!

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Someone July 23, 2017 at 8:53 pm

Hello Jason,
Please I have questions, my wife and kid joined me as a directive asylees months ago, my asylum grant is over a year and I am about to apply for GC.
1. Should I apply the GC with them or they have to wait for a year before they apply?
2. Should they apply GC with me now, are they to go through medical again since it was done abroad before they came here.
Thank you for all what you do us.

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Jason Dzubow July 24, 2017 at 6:31 am

1 – You can apply one year after you received asylum, but they have to wait until they have had asylum for one year (the date they got asylum should be on their I-94 card). 2 – When they apply for the GC, they will need to do a medical exam at that time (but young children may be exempt from that requirement – you would have to check the form I-693 or ask the doctor). Take care, Jason

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Alex July 23, 2017 at 11:10 am

Hello dear Jason thanks for your help from beginning of my journey since 2014 which means alot to us
I have filled I-485 asylum based on December 2016 and I live in Virginia since now the status never changes and now I’m willing to file for EAS renewal, my question is can I fille for EAD based on my I-485 is pending for free of charge? Because if I had filed along with my I485 application there was no any charges!
Thanks in advance

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Jason Dzubow July 24, 2017 at 6:18 am

This used to be possible, but I think it is no longer possible. You can check the I-765 direct filing addresses for all the categories, but I think there is no category for adjustment based on asylum pending. I suppose you can try anyway and see what happens, but I am not optimistic. Probably your better bet is to file to renew based on asylum so you get the automatic extension. Either you would have to pay the fee or request a fee waiver using form I-912, available at http://www.uscis.gov. Take care, Jason

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Alex July 24, 2017 at 1:50 pm

I’ve grant asylum all ready 19 months ago and then applied for Adjustment but didn’t apply fir EAD card because mine was still valid upto end if 2017 , that’s why I was wondered to know if I can still apply on based on my pending I-485 with no fees
Thanks for your quick respond, appreciate it so much

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Asylee July 23, 2017 at 2:14 am

Can my government by any chance knows about my asylum case ?

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Jason Dzubow July 23, 2017 at 7:37 am

Asylum is confidential – the US government does not inform the home government about a case. While I cannot say that I think this confidentiality is 100%, it is very good, especially at the asylum office level. Take care, Jason

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kar July 22, 2017 at 7:59 pm

initial ead case finally approved at 87 days. NSC.
the wait sucks..stay strong and positive… good luck everyone ✌

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Hope July 22, 2017 at 11:06 pm

Congratulations and thank you. What is your status? Mine is c8 ( pending asylum) and that is my first EAD. Can you please give me more informations? If you requested domes sr or something else? Thanks

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kar July 23, 2017 at 12:11 am

smae here. c8
idk know about “domes sr”

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Hope July 23, 2017 at 11:07 am

I mean if you have requested your case expedition

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kar July 23, 2017 at 12:04 pm

no, i didn’t expedite my case. i was advised to expedite after 90 days but fortunately, it has already been approved. hopefully, i won’t have to wait that long again. ✌

Hope July 23, 2017 at 12:05 pm

I don’t know why my EAD take so long. I have been waiting for more than 100 days and it’s my first one

Asylum applicant July 22, 2017 at 1:23 pm

Hi Jason Thank you for all that you do !
Im an asylum applicant since beggining of 2015 still waiting for an interview in Chicago IL. My mom wanted to come to visit here but because i dont have permanent status we found some friends that submitted affidavit of suport for her . She was denied 2 times overseas. We have relatives in Canada that sponsored her for visa thinking that if she gets the canadian it will be easier for her to obtain us visa. she got Canadian multiple visa for 3 years but was denied again for US. She just came to Canada yesterday and she wants to try and apply in Toronto in Us embassy. Do you know if its the same system ? We are really desperate as we didnt see each other for 5 years , uf you or anyone has any suggestions please let me know it will mean a lot .
Thank you !

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Jason Dzubow July 23, 2017 at 7:13 am

She can try, but I am pretty sure they will know about the prior denials. Anyway, it is certainly worth a try. Maybe you can get a visa to visit her in Canada. The problem is that you also need Advance Parole (form I-131, available at http://www.uscis.gov) to re-enter the US, and this usually takes 4, 5, 6 months or more to get. If you do get it, you can meet her later in any third country where you can both get a visa. Good luck, Jason

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Asylum applicant July 23, 2017 at 6:58 pm

Thank you for the answer .
I would but the only problem is that my passport has expired and my lawyer is against me renewing it . Do you think that its safer to renew my passport after the interview ? Im hoping that i will have one scheduled in the next 2 months so maybe while im waiting for decision i can renew it and then ask for advance parole ?

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Jason Dzubow July 24, 2017 at 6:27 am

Your lawyer knows your case better than me, so I think you should listen to that advice. One point – if you file for AP, and your case is granted or denied, the AP basically become invalid and you lose your filing fee. If you have the interview and the officer indicates that a decision will come soon, you might want to wait for the decision and – if it is granted – apply for a refugee travel document. Take care, Jason

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Akhan July 21, 2017 at 11:39 pm

Hi Jason,
Thanks for you all effort.

I did my asylum interview on 20 of June, 2016 and I did not hear back from Chicago immigration office. I applied ombudsman officeand they also tried to get update about my asylum case but no result came out . I sent 2 times mail, nathing happened. I sent an email too ,but I received reply back that we can’t gave you update through email. Please let me know how I can get my asylum case decision.
Thanks,

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Jason Dzubow July 23, 2017 at 7:10 am

It seems to me that the only options are to keep following up with them every few months (maybe in person if you can do that), or file a mandamus lawsuit to force them to make a decision – you would need to talk to a lawyer about that. Unfortunately, there can be very long delays after the interview, especially for people from Muslim countries. We have seen such delays in many cases. Good luck, Jason

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Akhan July 23, 2017 at 7:34 pm

Thanks again for your answer . can you please help me to know how I can file for a mandamus lawsuit .

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Jason Dzubow July 24, 2017 at 6:28 am

It is a lawsuit in federal court, and you probably need a lawyer to help you with that. We are not currently doing such lawsuits, but if you look around, you can probably find lawyers who do. Take care, Jason

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James July 21, 2017 at 7:38 pm

Hello Jason, I don’t know where exactly to ask this question.Anyway, I was granted asylum last December and now I was offered an aerospace job that requires me to be a US person as defined by ITAR. According to ITAR an asylee is indeed a US person. Unfortunately on the list of documents to prove one’ US person status, there is only the refugee travel document as proof for asylum status.I have just applied for one so it’d take probably 4 months to get it. Do you think that I can somehow make them understand that my asylee EAD along my new I-94 are official proofs of my status. I had a discussion with their HR but it seemed to me that she’s not particularly knowledgeable when it comes to the asylum status. I really want that job but I don’t how to proceed.

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MAZ July 22, 2017 at 1:39 pm

Hi, James

A person with Asylum status doesn’t mean that he/she is US citizen, you have to wait 1 year to apply for GREEN CARD i.e. (Permanent Resident) and then wait nearly 4 years and 9 months to apply for US citizenship, so my friend it will take another 6 years to become US CITIZEN,
Regards and Good Luck

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MAZ July 22, 2017 at 1:45 pm

Furthermore, For some or all Fedral Jobs you must be a US Citizen, rest of thoughts will come from Jason,

Thanks

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James July 22, 2017 at 1:50 pm

I am not referring to a US citizen status but rather a US person status which is defined as:
any individual who is granted U.S. citizenship; or
any individual who is granted U.S. permanent residence (“Green Card” holder); or
any individual who is granted status as a “protected person” under 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3);

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James July 22, 2017 at 1:59 pm

Thanks for your reply Maz though.

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MAZ July 22, 2017 at 3:48 pm

Thanks for explaining now I got what you are asking and now Jason will explain this,

Jason Dzubow July 23, 2017 at 7:09 am

You should have an asylum grant letter or a court order. Also, your asylum EAD has a code on it. If you check the code by going to the “Direct Filing Addresses” page of the I-765 form (at http://www.uscis.gov), you will see that the code corresponds to asylee (asylum granted). Maybe they will accept that. Also, you can call USCIS and ask to expedite the RTD – that may help. Take care, Jason

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James July 23, 2017 at 11:16 am

Thanks for reply Jason. I have both letter and my EAD which unfortunately are not on their list of approved documents. My plan is to bring them both to them personally and try to make my case. I did not know that one can request a RTD to be expedited. How likely is it that they will accept my request though? Is there anything I can do or send in order to increase the likelihood of their acceptance?

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Jason Dzubow July 24, 2017 at 6:19 am

If you send them some evidence about why you need to expedite the RTD that might help. I think it is more likely that they will not expedite it, but there is no harm in trying, and maybe they will. Take care, Jason

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Alex July 21, 2017 at 8:05 am

Dear Jason
I filed my I-589 application form in first week of May and I received the receipt after 2 weeks. But I haven’t received biometric invitation letter and I-797 form after more than 70 days. I emailed the matter to the Arlington asylum office and they replied “The service centers collecting biometrics are working through a backlog. We have submitted another request to send you an appointment to get your biometrics completed. Please be on the lookout for the letter in the mail.”
Is this normal for Texas service center ?
What other action can I take ?

Thank you.

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Jason Dzubow July 23, 2017 at 6:50 am

I have been hearing about this problem. Give them some time and if you did not get it in 2 months (or however long you want to wait), contact them again. I do not see how this delay wild affect your asylum case or EAD, so I think it is nothing to worry about, but I would keep an eye on it and follow up in a few months if you did not get the appointment. Take care, Jason

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sandy July 20, 2017 at 10:24 pm

Hi Jason,

Firstly, thank you so much for answering our questions. I have been constantly following your blog for almost a year now. We truly appreciate all information that you provide us. I am a pending asylum applicant, I applied to renew my Employment Authorization card and got an approved letter. My tracking number says that my card was mailed and delivered to my house but I never received it. I now have to apply for replacement card and my Work Authorization expires next month. I am at a point where I might lose my job. What all documents do I need to submit in order to apply for a replacement card? Is there any other ways to receive it?

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Jason Dzubow July 21, 2017 at 6:36 am

It should be the same as the documents you submitted to renew. But you might also need to submit evidence or an explanation about what happened. You would need to check the instructions of the I-765 for replacement cards. This can be a real pain, so if you do not understand it, you may want to use a lawyer to help you. Take care, Jason

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Ryan July 21, 2017 at 6:48 am

Hey there,it might sounds silly but did you check your local USPS office for lost item?this happened to me last year for an important document,even though it was (delivered)on tracking info i received nothing,went to them to check and the envelop was under the boxes in the USPS truck.Kudos to USPS employees i spent from 3 to 5pm in their office while they were looking everywhere for it.

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David July 20, 2017 at 9:00 pm

Hi Jason,

I received a notice to appear for the interview in four days. It was re-routed from my old address (although I filed for a change of address) and hence the late arrival. The interview date overlaps with my domestic travel booked last week.

Given the short time frame, I may not be able to file for reschedule before the interview date. Is it risky to reschedule?

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L.f July 20, 2017 at 11:26 pm

Acn you share your timeline please
Good luck

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L.f July 20, 2017 at 11:27 pm

Can you share your timeline please
And in what office
Good luck
God bless you

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Jason Dzubow July 21, 2017 at 6:31 am

I would go in person to ask about this. You could also send an email, but they do not always respond. You can find the email address and office hours if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Also, make sure they have your updated address; you can file a form AR-11, available at http://www.uscis.gov. Take care, Jason

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Sara July 21, 2017 at 6:25 pm

Sorry that happened to you, David. And it’s true that they don’t always respond to emails because I emailed my AO to confirm that my address change request has gone through, and didn’t get a reply (over 2 weeks now).
Doesn’t the lawyer/ representative get mailed a copy of the NTA? I’m hoping my lawyer will get it too in case they mail mine to my old address where my rerouting privileges have expired.
Good luck.

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Jason Dzubow July 23, 2017 at 6:57 am

If you have a lawyer, the asylum office should send an correspondence to you and to the lawyer. Take care, Jason

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Sara July 23, 2017 at 9:22 pm

Great. Thank you, Jason.

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wajahat July 20, 2017 at 10:33 am

Kindly give a chart showing time wait of different immigration courts around usa in asylum cases.Thanks.

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Jason Dzubow July 21, 2017 at 6:18 am

I do not have such a chart, but there may be info about this if you Google “TRAC immigration”. Take care, Jason

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Asylum seeker July 20, 2017 at 6:12 am

Hi Jason,

Thank you for this blog, it’s really helping us.

My wife has scheduled for asylum interview on august. She is a main applicant, and I’m included on the application as her husband. Our daughter was born here in US after we submit our form-589 and she is us citizen. So do we need to take her with us to our interview.

Thanks

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L.f July 20, 2017 at 8:23 am

Can you share timeline, pleasee
I wish you good luck in interview
God bless you

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Asylum seeker July 20, 2017 at 11:20 am

Application submitted – 2014 May
Interview scheduled – 2017 August
Chicago office

Thanks

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Mohamed July 21, 2017 at 8:43 am

Hi
You applied on May 2014 or 2015
Becouse accourding to chicago office on june 2017 they interviewed pepole who are applied on feb 2015

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Jason Dzubow July 20, 2017 at 5:41 pm

If she is a US citizen, she does not need to attend the interview. If you want to be nice to the asylum officer, print a new page 2 of the asylum form and include info about your new daughter (and make sure to keep the info about the dependent spouse). Then when they ask for this info, you can just give them the page – they will probably appreciate you saving them the time to ask about your daughters info, and you know, a happy asylum officer is more likely to grant the case (hopefully). Also, bring a copy of her birth certificate. Take care, Jason

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Asylum seeker July 20, 2017 at 8:16 pm

Thank you Jason!

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Sara July 19, 2017 at 11:00 pm

“I myself was a JLC back in the prediluvian era” – that wasn’t lost on me 😀
Thank you for another informative article, Jason.

Best,
Sara

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Jason Dzubow July 20, 2017 at 5:36 pm

(1) Excellent English (2) Thank you for being the one person (besides me) who understands my jokes.

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Sara July 21, 2017 at 12:24 am

I’ve been enjoying the jokes, the photos and the photo captions since I started following this blog 🙂
Please keep them coming!

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Jason Dzubow July 21, 2017 at 6:37 am

Shukran – I will try, Jason

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Jordan July 19, 2017 at 7:38 pm

Dear Attorney Jason,

First I wish to congratulate you for well research materials that is impetus to asylum litigants and generally immigration spectrum. I totally support your views. Is there a way for fundraising to have experienced attorney like you, or office of immigrants rights, file a counter-lawsuit against these perceived appointments.

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Jason Dzubow July 19, 2017 at 8:16 pm

The ACLU, the American Immigration Counsel, HIAS, and a number of other non-profits are fighting many of the new policies in court. Contributions to those organizations are always helpful. Take care, Jason

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Hope July 19, 2017 at 6:14 pm

It’s been 100 days that I’m waiting for my first EAD with no news. Now I’m literally freaking out after reading this post.

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Jason Dzubow July 19, 2017 at 8:13 pm

None of these men is in charge of USCIS, which issues EADs, and we are seeing EADs issued as normal. They normally take 2 to 4 months, so hopefully, yours will arrive soon. Take care, Jason

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Sara July 21, 2017 at 12:55 am

I want to do a Despacito spoof about this whole process with all the waiting on interviews and EADs and court dates and all that good stuff. What rhymes with “backlog”?
Ok, I’ll take my lame jokes and exit stage left.
Hope you get your EAD soon.

Best,
Sara

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Jason Dzubow July 21, 2017 at 6:38 am

I have been working on a song called “Backlog Blues”. Alas, it is not yet ready for prime time.

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Sara July 21, 2017 at 6:29 pm

Just let me know when you’re ready for a collab.

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kar July 22, 2017 at 3:32 pm

Hi Hope, my case has been approved. it was approved at 87 days.
good luck!

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Jason Dzubow July 23, 2017 at 7:15 am

Congratulations – it is always helpful to hear good news. Best of luck in America, Jason

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Shawn July 19, 2017 at 4:44 pm

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-administration-send-thousands-ice-192159939.html

This link explains how the acting “Director” plans to target immigrants.

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Jason Dzubow July 19, 2017 at 8:10 pm

This is the Acting Director of ICE. None of this is surprising, as it is what Trump promised when he ran for president. It is sad to see families ripped apart because the president and his men believe in enforcement only, with no mercy (and little justice). Take care, Jason

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Shawn July 20, 2017 at 9:56 am

Agreed. Thanks

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Sara July 21, 2017 at 6:43 pm

I got an ICE visit during the Obama era. Two officers came to my house holding up an unflattering photo of me (the airport arrival one), and asking if I’m Sara Lastname from Countryofbirth. They then asked why I overstayed my visa and I explained that I’m an asylum applicant, showed them the receipt and they were very apologetic. One of them joked that I had changed my hairstyle (summer blonde and winter redhead, people..it happens), and asked why I have a “pure American accent”. And that was that. I was super chill and they were super polite. They wished me good luck with the case and left.
Not saying that everyone’s experience will be similar or that things haven’t changed since Obama, but I still believe that as law-abiding asylum applicants we should have nothing to fear. Except for the interview. And the decision.

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Daniel July 19, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Just when I was beginning to feel good about winning two out of two asylum cases under the Trump administration, this happens. Well, at least Short and McHenry should have no effect on affirmative asylum cases. Do you think Hamilton’s influence will be much felt down at the level of the asylum offices?

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Jason Dzubow July 19, 2017 at 8:05 pm

I don’t know, but so far, it seems his influence is related to the travel ban (though what other lower profile projects he is working on, I do not know). Take care, Jason

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Ethan July 19, 2017 at 10:56 am

Hi Jason,

Thank you for your great article. After reading it, I decided to revisit my options for staying in U.S.

I applied for asylum in May 2017 and currently my case is pending. I am a Ph.D. student with a great publication and impact record in my field. I was planning to graduate and start working this summer (got several job offers) but my government cancelled my passport and unfortunately without a passport I couldn’t start working and thus stayed as student until I get my EAD through the pending asylum application.

Since I am not sure whether my asylum case will be approved or not, should I also apply for National Interest Waiver (NIW)? Also, is there a requirement for an unexpired passport to apply for NIW? I have been in U.S. for 5 years and I have a valid U.S. driver’s license for identification purposes. I will appreciate your reply.

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Jason Dzubow July 19, 2017 at 8:04 pm

I do not think you would need a current passport for an NIW green card, as long as you are still in lawful status in the US (meaning you have some status besides just asylum pending, such as F-1 or OPT). I am not 100% sure about that though. You should know that none of the men described in the above article are in charge of the asylum offices. Also, we do not know how these appointments will impact the system, but I am just not feeling too optimistic about it. I will say that the law is the same, and good asylum case will likely still be approved. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow July 27, 2017 at 6:38 am

The advantage of delaying the interview is that you will be with us for a longer time. Although there is disagreement from commenters here, my experience is still that the Scheduling Bulletin is pretty accurate, so I would expect an interview according to that, and make sure your case is ready and all documents are submitted. Take care, Jason

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Sara July 27, 2017 at 1:14 pm

Thank you, Jason! I’ll be on here posting and lurking long after my case is approved. And I realize now how creepy that sounded….
Thanks for the renewed hope in the bulletin. I’m as prepared as I can be for my interview, they just need to give me time to talk and we’re good.

Have a great day.
Sara

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Jason Dzubow July 28, 2017 at 6:37 am

Actually, I think people who speak fluent English and who are educated and understand “the system” have a real advantage. I think it is probably easier for a person like that with a mediocre case to win, than an uneducated person with a strong case. It is unfair, but that is what I have observed. Anyway, keep lurking. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow July 28, 2017 at 6:13 am

If you end up with a deportation order, there is a 5 year bar (I think – it may be 10). But if your case is closed and you do not get a deportation order, there is no rule as far as I know, so you can try to come back immediately. The embassies have a lot of discretion whether to issue a visa, and I think the prior asylum case will be viewed as a negative factor, so you will need to overcome that and demonstrate that you plan to leave the US and the end of your visit. Take care, Jason

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