The Cato Institute on the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act

by Jason Dzubow on August 8, 2017

This post is by David J. Bier, an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. Below is a statement he submitted to the House of Representatives about a new bill that is currently under consideration, the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act. The bill would make it more difficult for certain aliens to seek asylum in the United States (though in a nod to Christian conservatives, the bill would also make it easier to gain asylum for people fleeing “home school persecution”).

David J. Bier

The Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act (H.R. 391) would undermine the individual rights of people fleeing persecution and violence to seek asylum in the United States. The bill would obliterate the current asylum standards for people seeking asylum at the border, and now require such asylum seekers to prove their claims to an impossible degree immediately upon their arrival at the border—without access to the documents or witnesses that they would need to do so. The government would then promptly deport without a hearing before an immigration judge those who fail this unattainable requirement, possibly to endure violence or persecution.

The authors claim that this radical change is necessary due to an unprecedented surge of asylum applicants. In the 1990s, however, a similar surge of asylum seekers arrived in the United States, and Congress adopted much less severe reforms than those proposed in this bill. Even assuming that the applicants are submitting asylum applications for the sole purpose of gaining entrance to the United States, the bill does nothing to address the underlying cause of the problem: the lack of a legal alternative to migrate. As long as legal immigration remains impossible for lesser-skilled workers and their family members, unauthorized immigration of various kinds will continue to present a challenge.

Asylum rule change will result in denials of legitimate claims

Current law requires that asylum seekers at the border assert a “credible fear” of persecution. Asylum officers determine credibility based on whether there is a “significant possibility” that, if they allow the person to apply, an immigration judge would find that the fear is “well-founded,” a higher standard of proof. The credible fear interview screens out only the claims that obviously have “no possibility, or only a minimal or mere possibility, of success,” as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) puts it. If the USCIS asylum officer rejects the claim as not credible, the applicant may ask an immigration judge to review the determination the next day but is not granted a full hearing. Customs and Border Protection removes those who fail to assert or fail to articulate a credible fear.

H.R. 391 would impose a much higher standard simply to apply for asylum in the United States. In addition to demonstrating that they had significant possibility of successfully proving their claim to an immigration judge, it would require applicants to prove that it is “more probable than not” that their claims are true—a preponderance of the evidence standard. This standard eviscerates the lower bar that Congress established. The committee simply cannot expect that asylum seekers who may have had to sneak out of their country of origin in the dead of night or swim across rivers to escape persecution will have sufficient evidence the moment they arrive in the United States to meet this burden.

In 2016, a group of Syrian Christians who traveled thousands of miles across multiple continents and then up through Mexico to get to the United States arrived at the border to apply for asylum. Thankfully, they met the credible fear standard and were not deported, which enabled them to hire an attorney to help them lay out their claim, but this new standard could endanger anyone who follows their path. An inability to provide sufficient evidence of their religion, nationality, residence, or fear would result in deportation immediately after presenting themselves at the border.

The authors imply that requiring them to prove their statements are true is not the same as requiring them to prove their entire asylum case, but this is a distinction without a difference. Asylum applicants must state a “credible fear” of persecution. Those statements would then be subject to the much more stringent standard. Of course the government should demand the truth from all applicants, but this is a question of the standard by which asylum officers should use to weed truth from falsehood. It is virtually impossible that, by words alone, asylum seekers could prove that it is “more probable than not” that their statements are true.

The committee should consider this fact: in 2016, immigration judges reversed nearly 30 percent of all denials of credible fear that came to them on appeal. This means that even under the current law, asylum officers make errors that would reject people with credible claims of persecution. If Congress requires an even greater burden, many more such errors will occur, but faced with the higher evidentiary requirement, immigration judges will have little choice but to ratify them.

Here is another sign that the truth is not enough: asylum applicants with attorneys were half as likely to have their asylum denied by immigration judges in 2016 as those without attorneys. Indeed, 90 percent of all applicants without counsel lose their case, while a majority with counsel win theirs. This demonstrates that people need more than just honesty—they also need to understand what evidence is relevant to their case and need help to gather documents, witnesses, and other evidence to support their claim.

For these reasons, Congress never intended the credible fear interview as a rigorous adversarial process because it wanted to give people who could credibly articulate a fear of persecution an opportunity to apply. It knew that while some people without legitimate claims would be able to apply, the lower standard of proof would protect vulnerable people from exclusion. As Senator Alan Simpson, the sponsor of the 1996 bill that created the credible fear process, said, “it is a significantly lesser fear standard than we use for any other provision.” Indeed, during the debate over the compromise version of the bill, proponents of the legislation touted that the fact that they had dropped “the more probable than not” language in the original version.

Asylum surge is not unprecedented

People can either apply for asylum “affirmatively” to USCIS on their own or they can apply “defensively” after they come into the custody of the U.S. government somehow, such as at the border or airport, to an immigration judge, which would include the credible fear process. If USCIS denies an “affirmative” applicant who is in the country illegally, the government places them in removal proceedings before an immigration judge where they can present their claim again.

Reviewing the data on asylum claims, two facts become clear: total asylum claims peaked in the 1990s, and a substantial majority of claims are affirmative—that is, done voluntarily, not through the credible fear process or through removal proceedings. Although credible fear claims—a process that was first created in 1997—have increased dramatically, the overall number of asylum claims has still not reached the highs of the early 1990s. Unfortunately, the immigration courts have not published the number of cases that they received before 1996, but as Figure 1 shows, the United States has experienced similar surges of asylum seekers to 2016.

It is noteworthy that in the midst of the surge in the 1990s, Congress did not adopt the draconian approach that this bill would require. Rather, it created the credible fear process that the bill would essentially eliminate. The authors of the legislation, however, argue that the Obama administration turned the credible fear process into a rubber stamp, allowing applicants to enter regardless of the credibility of their claims. But again a look at the numbers undermines this narrative. As Figure 2 highlights, the Obama administration denied an average of about 25 percent of all asylum seekers from 2009 to 2016.

Despite fluctuations of up to 35 percentage points during this time, there is simply no relationship at all between the rate of approval and the number of claims being made. Factors other than the approval rate must be driving the number of applications. Some of these claims are undoubtedly invalid or even fraudulent, but given that a majority of claims by individuals with representation in immigration court win their asylum claims, it is obvious that the credible fear process has protected many people from deportation to persecution abroad.

If fraudulent claims are a concern, Congress can best address it in the same way that it has successfully addressed other aspects of illegal immigration from Mexico: through an expansion of legal immigration. During the 1950s and again recently in the 2000s, Congress expanded the availability of low-skilled guest worker visas, which led to a great reduction in the rate of illegal immigration. Figure 3 presents the number of guest workers entering each year and the number of people each border agent apprehended each year—the best available measure of illegal immigration. It shows that the period of high illegal immigration occurred almost exclusively during the period of restrictive immigration.

Most guest workers today are Mexicans. This is largely due to the fact that the current guest worker programs are limited to seasonal temporary jobs and Mexico is closer to the United States, which makes trips to and from the United States easier. By comparison, most asylum seekers are from Central America. Assuming that a significant portion of these asylum seekers are either reuniting with illegal residents already in the United States or are seeking illegal residence themselves, these seasonal programs are unavailable to them.

Congress should create a temporary work visa program for low-skilled workers in year-round jobs, similar to the H-1B visa for high-skilled workers. This would cut down on asylum fraud and illegal immigration without the downsides that this bill presents.

{ 139 comments… read them below or add one }

raj September 28, 2017 at 6:49 am

Hi jason, I applied for asylum through an attorney in Houston. I wanna know, how much it will take to fingerprint? And other question is, if once I completed fingerprint, can I apply for drivers license? TiA.

Reply

Jason Dzubow September 28, 2017 at 5:38 pm

The fingerprint notice usually arrives about a month after you file. In most states, you cannot get a license until you have your work permit, but I do not know about Texas. You can ask at the DMV or check their website. Take care, Jason

Reply

Ade September 13, 2017 at 8:37 pm

Hi Jason,
My asylum is in 2 weeks, am I still going to be requested to do finger prints, because most people are requested to do biometrics again

Reply

Suzi September 10, 2017 at 10:12 pm

Hi Jason,

I thank you very much for the efforts that you are exerting in explaining the DHS policies and laws to us asylum seekers which made our lives easy. Whenever something comes up immediately you are the only one that comes into our minds. I have applied my case in Arlington in March 2015 and it has been almost two and half years. When I first arrived in November 2014 I heard that cases almost take between three to four weeks until their are heard. But things have changed since January 2015 I can understand that. We all asylum seekers are on the same boat.

If you have any idea how long will I have to wait more could you please be kind enough tell me. I am from Yemen but war shattered me and my family. We have nothing and nobody in Yemen. Those who have been killed and those who have fled. I have my EAD and I am working but without my family I feel I am totally lost.

I know very well that you could do everything in your efforts to help us asylum seekers but nothing is in your hands.

Thank you.

Reply

Jason Dzubow September 11, 2017 at 6:33 am

Hopefully, your wait will be less than a year. The system did change on December 26, 2014, and many of the 2014 cases are already finished – you are just waiting for the remaining 2014 cases to be interviewed. Also, Arlington is interviewing people and things are moving there, at least for now. Finally, if you have a basis to expedite your case, you can try that – I wrote a post about this on March 30, 2017 – and maybe that would help. Take care, Jason

Reply

Kevin August 30, 2017 at 3:05 am

Hi Jason,

I’m refugee came from Turkey through the UN with my wife on September 2015. After a year on September 2016 we applied for Green card. Also we did fingerprint process on November 2016 both at the same time. We just received green card for my wife on Feb 2017 but still there is nothing change for me on USCIS website. It’s almost a year from date of apply. Also I sumbited an inquiry on USCIS but it’s not assigned to anybody.
Do you know what can I do ?
Thanks,

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 30, 2017 at 6:26 am

Everything is slow now, so your situation is not so uncommon. You can make an inquiry with the USCIS Ombudsman – a link is at right. That office can help with delayed cases. Take care, Jason

Reply

SP August 29, 2017 at 11:50 pm

I received my renewal EAD card on the 21st of August 2017 valid for 2yrs. Thanks to God, Mr Jason & this wonderful forum. God Bless You All; More Testimonies will be shared on this forum.

Reply

Asylee August 26, 2017 at 7:10 am

Dear Jason,

Thank you for all your help and we greatly appreciate your time. I have a quick question to you, I filed form I-589 with Chicago office in June 2015 and I have moved to San Francisco in 2016, I have already filed AR-11, my question is that if we move to a different state, does our application goes back to the last in line or will it be followed according to their schedule /timeline. Currently SF asylum is interviewing applicants who have submitted in July 2015, I wonder if I will be placed in the end or will be called for an interview soon?

Many Thanks

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 28, 2017 at 5:56 am

You should keep your place in the queue and be interviewed as if you had originally filed in SF. Take care, Jason

Reply

Jason Pembroke August 19, 2017 at 5:35 pm

Hi, Jason! I have lost my copy i-589 that I sent to USCIS. Is there any way I can get a copy of it from USCIS ??

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 21, 2017 at 6:15 am

It is not so quick (maybe 4 to 6 months), but you can file a Freedom of Information Act request and get a copy of your entire file. Use form G-639, available at http://www.uscis.gov (this is free). If you need it faster, maybe contact your local asylum office and ask whether they can give you a copy. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

Reply

Jason Pembroke August 21, 2017 at 7:53 pm

another question. I also filed the application for WA about a month ago, but forgot to attach my photos. When I checked the status on the website it said a RFE was sent to me. But it’s been more than a week since they sent it and I still haven’t received it. Should I wait more for the letter or can I just send them the photos, since I know what is missing? If yes is there any recommendations on how to do it, for instance, do I need to send the photos with a cover letter and my documents?

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 22, 2017 at 9:54 pm

It may take a week or two, but it is better to wait for the RFE. Normally, the RFE has a bar code so USCIS can match it with your case when you respond. Also, you never know, they may need something more than just the photos. Take care, Jason

Reply

Jason Pembroke September 8, 2017 at 1:18 pm

You were right, they needed my docs with the letter they had sent me. I sent the RFE letter with my documents back to the Texas office two weeks ago and a week ago they received it. How long do I wait now to receive my WA? Does the RFE affect the wait time? And since I have the pending asylum status can I expect to wait less than usual?

Alex August 17, 2017 at 6:12 pm

Hi Jason,
What is the turnaround time for your office from starting till submitting an asylum application?
Thank you.

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 18, 2017 at 6:21 am

It depends on the case. These days, we only submit the I-589 form and passport copy (and some additional documents if there are dependent family members), and so we can get cases mailed relatively quickly – maybe a week or two, but we are also pretty busy and sometimes we cannot get cases mailed this fast. Take care, Jason

Reply

Jun August 16, 2017 at 10:43 pm

Hello, Jason
Thank you so much for answering these questions to us. I have some questions regarding advance parole and other situations. It’s been almost a half year, since I applied asylum based on LGBT case. I already submitted EAD application and advance parole at the same time. I assume that I’ll be receiving those documents in next a few months. By the time, I just got married to US citizen who will support me to green card. We haven’t submitted I-485 yet, although we’re almost ready to send out the documents to USCIS. The question is since I’m submitting my I-485, what will happen to my asylum case? It’ll be dropped out or so? I’m in F-1 status legally now, if it matters. Also what will happen to my advance parole that I submitted based on my asylum case? Can I use it to go my home country, if my asylum case will be dropped? Or do I have to request a new advance parole after submition of I-485? Thank you so much.

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 17, 2017 at 6:38 am

Unless you specifically ask to continue the asylum case, I think the USCIS policy is that the case would end if you get your GC. You can use your AP until you have another status (like GC or asylum granted). I think it is a bad idea to go to your country with AP or even with the GC, as that could cause USCIS to think the original asylum application was a fraud. If you do go to your country, you should have a good reason, plus evidence to back it up. Take care, Jason (PS: You probably already know, but I should mention that there are many other USCIS forms besides the I-485 to apply for the GC)

Reply

SP August 16, 2017 at 8:43 pm

My status change to New Card In Production. How long does it take to get my EAD and will the validity be for 2yrs. Thanks sir, I need your reply sir.

REPLY

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 17, 2017 at 6:35 am

I do not know how long it will take, but probably less than a month. You should get a 2-year card. Take care, Jason

Reply

SP August 16, 2017 at 8:39 pm

Application received in May 15th 2017.

Reply

Jimi August 17, 2017 at 1:13 am

Hey SP, would you mind to tell us which service center you applied for EAD, I applied on 6th June in Vermont and transferred to Nebraska, waiting for EAD.
Thanks

Reply

SP August 15, 2017 at 11:07 pm

My status change to New Card In Production. How long does it take to get my EAD and will the validity be for 2yrs. Thanks sir

Reply

Solo August 16, 2017 at 12:10 am

Hey congrats on the cards just want to ask when did u apply?

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 17, 2017 at 6:28 am

I do not know how long it will take, but probably less than a month. You should get a 2-year card. Take care, Jason

Reply

Milly August 15, 2017 at 9:50 pm

Hi Jason!

Thank you for your help with all these legal issues and frequent updates on the asylum process!
I’ve been following your blog for quite some time and found many good articles and answers.
We have applied for asylum (LGBT) with my spouse more than 2 years ago in New York. We are from the same nation, my spouse is the main applicant.
We have no interview date yet, however according to the scheduling bulletin, we are getting close.
I recently got a great opportunity to move to the south and study language and get a better position in my job, it’d require me to move to another state by the end of this year. I think we will get through the interview by then but I’m wondering if this can cause any troubles later on, me and my spouse living in different states. I wouldn’t change my residency until I settle, and my spouse would come after me sometime next year.
My partner is supporting my dreams and plans and does not want to move because of career and other factors here in New York, but it would help us financially as well to sublet our guest room and I’d pay much less for rent down there.
I will probably need to sign a lease for an apartment or place where I can live, maybe I can find a room but roommates also required to sign part of the lease in some states. I will also need a car which will have some difficulty to obtain insurance for and register unless I get it here and I drive a few thousand miles to the destination. I know I suppose to do the registration here in New York because of the primary residence, I am not sure if I can or I want to be a resident of a different state as of yet.
Would it cause any problems or would it possibly hurt our case that the derivative applicant lives somewhere else pursuing educational and career opportunities? We know we can do long distance, we have done it before for a brief period and it worked okay and I’d also come back every few months to spend time together.

Your opinion is highly appreciated.
Thank you in advance.

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 17, 2017 at 6:24 am

I think you can do it. The main issue here would be if USCIS thinks that your marriage is not true, so if you move, you need to keep as much evidence as possible about the marriage (travel receipts, photos, joint bills or insurance, etc.). One issue that I am not sure about is your obligation (as a dependent) to change your address with USCIS while the asylum case is still pending. If you move before the case is decided, I would contact the asylum office and ask about this. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

Reply

Milly August 17, 2017 at 8:20 am

I will also ask our attorney, I just don’t really talk to them directly, since my spouse is the main applicant.
My partner wouldn’t move and I’d keep primary residency here in New York. I’d have a secondary address and maybe a car registration but health insurance, joint bills and everything would remain the same.

Reply

Shazia Shahzad August 15, 2017 at 4:23 pm

Hello sir,
We had applied for our first Ead in june 23 in Chicago office and after some days our lawyer got receipt, today we have received a notice from Usics it is basically a Transfer Notice in which they are informing us after preliminary review on your Ead application we are tranferring it to Texas service centre for further processing , i just need your guidance is it normal?

Reply

Josh August 15, 2017 at 6:35 pm

Same here. Chicago-based I-589-derived I-765 sent to Nebraska, and got a notice saying case was transferred to Mesquite, TX.
You are not the only one. Don’t worry:)

Reply

Shazia Shahzad August 15, 2017 at 9:06 pm

Alright thanks

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 17, 2017 at 6:14 am

It is totally normal and is related to USCIS distributing cases based on their internal workload. Take care, Jason

Reply

Shazia Shahzad August 17, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Thanks alot sir for your precious time

Reply

Oscar P August 15, 2017 at 1:02 pm

Hello, Im currently asylum pending waiting for interview. in the last couple of months I’ve had 4 blood works done and diagnosed with leucopenia (low white blood cells) my specialist now wants to test my bone marrow because she can’t figure out whats happening. Do you think this is ground to expedite? The stress of waiting and now this is just so much.

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 17, 2017 at 6:05 am

I think it is a strong basis to expedite. Get evidence about your health problems and submit that to your local asylum office with the expedite request. Also, make sure that you have submitted all documents for your case, so that if they do expedite, you will be ready to go. Good luck, Jason

Reply

Asylum applicant August 14, 2017 at 8:22 pm

Hello Jason , God bless you.
When the asylum office does a background check do you know what does it include ? Are they able to see previous employers or maybe medical records if i have state insurance ? Do they do background check in my home country or just here in US ? Thank you Jason

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 15, 2017 at 6:37 am

The background check is a bit secretive, so I do not know for sure, but it seems to involve checking your name and fingerprints against various data bases. They might also check your family members. The check can be overseas as well, but they are required to maintain confidentiality. I do think background checks vary somewhat depending on the case, but I am not sure. I think they would probably know about certain employment and medical records, if that information is publicly available, but again, I am not sure about that. Take care, Jason

Reply

Sim August 14, 2017 at 4:45 pm

I find my asylum LGBT and my wife is dependent on my application I just wanted to know if my wife can apply Eb3 visa or not I am not in status but my wife is on F1 visa

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 15, 2017 at 6:30 am

If your wife is in-status, she should be eligible to get a green card based on EB3 without leaving the US, but you should talk to a lawyer to be sure she can finish the process before she starts the process, which can be expensive. Take care, Jason

Reply

Tania mustehsan August 17, 2017 at 4:08 am

Hi Jason
Really liked your blog, I have few questions
Lately people were talking about addition of more asylum offices, so is it true And if yes how many new offices have been made?
And also are the interviews getting faster ?

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 17, 2017 at 6:44 am

They have been hiring new officers, though I think there is still a problem with turnover. Cases are moving more faster now – you can see that if you check the Asylum Office Scheduling Bulletin – a link is at right. I think this is because fewer people are arriving at the US/Mexico border to ask for asylum. Take care, Jason

Reply

Jimi August 14, 2017 at 1:47 pm

Hi Everyone,

Anyone on this forum has Statistics background please calculate approval rate for Asylum cases in different centers, I tried my self for New York, but got confused because I have medical background..

Thanks

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 15, 2017 at 6:24 am

I did a blog post about that on February 25, 2016. I doubt that there has been too much change since that time, so this may give you an idea about grant rates. Take care, Jason

Reply

Prabhu August 14, 2017 at 3:24 am

I have to renew my EAD. I don’t know what files and documents are needed to apply. My lawyer is always busy and I don’t trust his assistant all the tine as he seems to be careless person . Can u say me what checklist is needed to apply for first renewal fo my EAD and where to mail them. I live in san fransisco. Thank you for the help please….

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 15, 2017 at 6:15 am

As I do not know your case, I cannot give specific advice like this. It is generally an easy process and my assistant does that in our office, so maybe the assistant is fine. Otherwise, check the form I-765, available at http://www.uscis.gov. The instructions explain what documents are needed. Take care, Jason

Reply

Adam August 14, 2017 at 12:36 am

Dear Jason,

I am Asylum applicant and my case is pending at the Immigration court. My master hearing in couple months … I have been working so hard since I came to the United States, and my dream come true. I get accepted into DENTAL SCHOOL. My problem right now is the school and the bank asked me to provide them with Work Authorization valid for at least 6 months, I am going to fill to renew my EDA SOON, but I know it may take couple months to get the new one and if I do not receive the new EDA in 3 months they will give my seat to another person. They accepted me from 1200 applicants and I don’t want loose this opportunity. There is any way to expedite the EDA renewal process or the Individual hearing base on my Critical situation.

Please help me !!!

Reply

Adam August 14, 2017 at 12:38 am

Sorry EAD NOT EDA

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 15, 2017 at 6:13 am

When you submit the application for EAD, you can make a cover page to USCIS explaining the situation and providing evidence (like a letter from the school). I think you should also talk to the school – their requirement shows that they do not understand the asylum system. It is obvious to anyone familiar with the asylum system/immigration court system that your case will take some time and that you will have a work permit the whole time (probably several years). Maybe ask the school if you can give them a letter from a lawyer who knows about asylum, and if so, whether they would accept that legal determination and allow you to enroll – if so, you can find an immigration lawyer to write a letter explaining your situation. Good luck, Jason

Reply

Adam August 15, 2017 at 11:01 am

Thank you, Jason!! GOD BLESS YOU

Reply

Shawn August 13, 2017 at 7:46 pm

Hi Jason,

Hope you are well. Question: If you have a pending EAD application with USCIS and your asylum application was referred to immigration court, does that decision affect your EAD application? Will your EAD application be denied? Can you reapplyfpr the EAD after your case has been transferred to court?

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 15, 2017 at 6:04 am

A referral to court does not affect the EAD application and you can renew your EAD if your case is in immigration court (or with the Board of Immigration Appeals). Take care, Jason

Reply

Shawn August 15, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Jason,

Thank you so much for your response. I don’t think you understood me clearly.

The person’s EAD application is in process for the last 5 weeks or so. The status says “Case Has Been Received”. The person did his asylum interview yesterday. As you know, the person might likely be referred to Immigration Court. This decision usually comes in two weeks. Obviously, the EAD will still be with USCIS office.

I read somewhere, on USCIS website I believe, that if you are denied at the asylum office before your EAD application is approved, then your EAD application will also be denied.

I know for a fact that the 180-day extension woul dno longer apply to you as you are no longer in the C8 category since a decision was made and your case wasn’t approved at the asylum office level.

What I am not sure about is if a renewal of EAD would be affected by a referral to court. The referral to court comes before the EAD is approved.

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 17, 2017 at 6:09 am

If the person is referred to court, it has no effect on the pending EAD and it should be issued in the normal manner. The 180-day extension does apply. A referral to court is not technically a denial–the asylum case is still pending, only now it is with the court and not the asylum office. An asylum application is only “denied” if the person has some other legal status to remain in the US (like an F-1 student visa, for example). In that circumstance, the case does not go to court, the asylum case is over, and the EAD ends at the time of the denial. Take care, Jason

Reply

Shawn August 17, 2017 at 8:37 am

Jason,

Thank you very much for the clarification.

Asylee August 13, 2017 at 2:47 pm

Dear Sir,

Thanks very much for your priceless work for the asylum seekers. I have a question.
I have applied for asylum from Houston AO about one year ago, now am planning to move to Los Angeles, please tell me what will happened to my application? Will I follow LA AO from my original filing date at TX AO or from my moving date to LA.
Regards,

Reply

Asylee August 13, 2017 at 3:03 pm

One more thing to add, already got EAD.

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 15, 2017 at 6:00 am

If you move, you need to file a change of address form, AR-11, available at http://www.uscis.gov. You will follow the schedule of the new office (in LA) once your case is moved there. Take care, Jason

Reply

Zax August 13, 2017 at 5:50 am

Hi Jason,
As my interview is seeming not to happen anytime soon, I am now contemplating to go to another country. While discussing 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

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 14, 2017 at 9:48 pm

I replied to this when you posting it before – please see that posting. Take care, Jason

Reply

John August 12, 2017 at 10:46 am

Hello Jason.
Thank you so much for your helping!
My asylum consultant tells me, that I need to file case in legal status, and if I will file case when I will be in illegal status, I can have some problems with receiving EAD and Green Card. That he knows several cases, when people file case in illegal status, and had some problems.
Is can it be any difference between filing case in legal status (will end soon) or illegal status ?
What do you think ?

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 14, 2017 at 9:33 pm

I think you should find a new legal “consultant”. It seems that this person does not know what he is talking about, and so it is very likely that the “help” he will provide you will do more harm than good. Use a lawyer who knows what he/she is doing. If you cannot afford a lawyer, I did a posting on September 22, 2016 about how to find a free lawyer. If that does not work, it is probably better to do the case yourself than to rely on a consultant who has no idea what he is talking about. Take care, Jason

Reply

Sara Hope August 12, 2017 at 10:08 am

Hi Jason, I applied for asylum at Chicago office Feb 2014 , got my interview Feb 2017 , still waiting for decision! Last month I moved from Michigan to Virginia, my questions;

1- I have informed USCIS of change of physical address but kept my Michigan mailing address, does that still change my case to Arlington office?

2- Do you think that I may receive deceaion sooner as Arlington office is faster comparing to Chicago office?

3- which office I should call to inquire about my case Arlington or Chicago?

Best,

REPLY

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 14, 2017 at 9:30 pm

I think I already replied to this. If not, you can let me know. Take care, Jason

Reply

Keo August 11, 2017 at 10:08 pm

Dear Jason
Thank you for your help. I have a question. If somebody cross the border illigally and get caught by border patrol in the US, would they be detained or will be released after a while and if so after how long? Thank you for your help in advanced.

Reply

Josh August 14, 2017 at 7:04 pm

Under the new admin, the crosser can expect to be detained until your case is resolved (anywhere from several months to several years), if not immediately deported.

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 15, 2017 at 6:32 am

The person should only be deported immediately if they fail a credible fear interview, which is an initial evaluation of asylum eligibility. Take care, Jason

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 14, 2017 at 9:27 pm

They can be detained and held until their case is resolved – either winning asylum (or some other relief) or being deported. In some cases, people are released while their case is pending, but it depends on the case and probably also on luck. Take care, Jason

Reply

Solo August 11, 2017 at 6:27 pm

Hi Jason

As I have mentioned last week My case was transferred from neberaska service center to Texas mesquite I was hoping to get a letter explaining my case was transferred b/c work load but Instade I got a letter saying we completed a preliminary review of your case and transfer it to the above mentioned center for further review as a standard procedure. Is this normal or should I be worried
Thank you in advance and may god bless you for all the good work your doing

Reply

Tina August 11, 2017 at 9:03 pm

Got same letter when I applied to renew my EAD in February. My EAD was approved in May.I do not think there is anything to worry about. I hope this helps.

Reply

Solo August 11, 2017 at 9:05 pm

Thank you so much Tina so it took a month after that??

Reply

Tina August 12, 2017 at 10:43 pm

No! It took about a week after I called USCIS.It was about 3 months from when my application was received.

Reply

Solo August 11, 2017 at 9:06 pm

I mean after the later?

Reply

Solo August 11, 2017 at 9:09 pm

Sorry I meant 3 months

Reply

Tina August 12, 2017 at 10:47 pm

Yes! About that. I also applied for fee waiver because I could not afford the fee at the time. The fee waiver approval came within a month.

Solo August 13, 2017 at 1:59 am

Thank for your response I really appreciate it

Jason Dzubow August 14, 2017 at 6:41 am

I find that their different explanations for case transfers do not have much meaning, and it is difficult to read into what they tell you. My best advice is to not worry – USCIS has your case and they are processing it. If you want, you can call USCIS to inquire – you can find their number at http://www.uscis.gov. Take care, Jason

Reply

Solo August 14, 2017 at 9:53 pm

Thank you Jason much love to u

Reply

Art August 11, 2017 at 12:17 pm

Hello Jason.

Hope you are well . I have a question, I sent in my intial EAD application about 30 days ago to the Dallas lockbox. I received an email with my receipt number and priority date and it stated I would get the notice in the mail but up to today I have not received it. Whenever I check online using my receipt number it just says ‘case received ‘ and theres nothing under case history. So today I tried making and online inquiry regarding the notice I haven’t received since they say if you applied through a lockbox you are supposed to get it in 10 days but every time i try to submit the query it gives me an error saying ‘do not submit query if you have recently been approved allow 30 days to receive new notice’ . So Im confused because I haven’t received the first notice and My case say recieved and not approved. Is this normal?

Reply

Solo August 11, 2017 at 5:33 pm

It takes 2-4 month for initial EAD wait up

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 14, 2017 at 6:29 am

Normally, people do get a paper receipt, but it sounds like USCIS has your case. You can try calling them to inquire about the paper receipt – you can find their phone number at http://www.usics.gov. Generally, if USCIS has received the application (and you sent it to the correct office), you should be fine. Take care, Jason

Reply

Jim August 11, 2017 at 10:32 am

Hello Jason. Thanks for your help. We do really appreciate it. My case was transfered to Judge Snow in arlington Immigration court. His grant rate was about 80% between 2011 to 2014. However, it was just 28% grant rate in 2016 fiscal year. Do you know what happened? Why the grant rate did changed dramatically these days? It seems like i am gonna to have a tough time, right? Thanks

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 14, 2017 at 6:22 am

I do not know, but he was away from the court on other details for a while, and I think he also got transferred to a detained docket at some point (which would explain the lower grant rate, as detained asylum cases are very hard to win, since the person is often detained due to a criminal conviction that makes him/her ineligible for asylum). In my experience, he is an excellent Judge, even if he is not always “easy,” he is always fair. In my opinion, you should consider yourself lucky that he is your judge. Take care, Jason

Reply

Jim August 14, 2017 at 9:04 pm

Thank you so much for your help. I finally know what happened and feel calm down. I am really appreciate it. Thanks

Reply

Lisaaa August 11, 2017 at 12:49 am

Hey Jason, i did have an asylum interview today. I was so nervous that i forgot my entry date. I said august 8 instead od august 9. He asked twice but i said august 8. My application was witten August 9th. Will it affect my case?? I did go through my application because the interview notice come earlier than my freedom of information notice of which i requested the copy of my i589 because i did lost it

Reply

Lisaaa August 11, 2017 at 12:50 am

Didn’t go through my application

Reply

L.F August 11, 2017 at 4:52 pm

I hope u gonna get some good news !
Can you share timeline please & office ?
Appreciate that

Reply

Lisaaa August 12, 2017 at 1:12 am

Thank you. I filed in Chicago office August 2014, interview August 10 2017

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 14, 2017 at 6:16 am

I don’t think a one day error in your date of entry should make much difference, but I suppose it depends on the case. But if that was the only mistake, I doubt it will affect much. Take care, Jason

Reply

JRT August 10, 2017 at 3:09 pm

Hi Jason,

First of all, and I’m sure you’ve heard this many times, I want to express my gratitude to you for maintaining such an invaluable resource for asylum seekers, answering tons of questions on a daily basis, and even keeping up with things while on vacation! I know that some people eventually become your clients, so while it may not be completely non-for-profit in all cases (though I’m sure it is in most), I find your dedication truly commendable.

Now on to my question: has your office noticed an increase in processing times for asylum-related documents lately? I applied for an EAD renewal at the beginning of April, and it’s now been more than four months since filing date. However, when I check the status of my case online, it says that my case has been received, and that status hasn’t changed since USCIS first received my documents. Is it typical for EAD renewals to take a longer time these days? I.e. more than four months.
Thanks in advance!
JRT

Reply

AA August 11, 2017 at 11:29 am

Hi Jason (and JRT),

I am actually in the same situation – I applied in March 2017 and have been to USCIS via InfoPass several times, wondering the status of my card. I have only been told that the card will arrive. My employers are shaking me up and fear I may lose my job as my previous card has now expired. Can you help with answers and would I need to contact you for services to assist with this case?

Thanks so much for the resource you provide to us all.

AA

Reply

AA August 11, 2017 at 11:31 am

I am at 150 days of processing.

Reply

JRT August 11, 2017 at 12:39 pm

AA,

Thanks for sharing. It’s helpful to know that someone else is in the same situation as oneself. Although, of course, it is an unfortunate situation, and I know how stressful it can be with the fear of losing a job and no other means to support yourself. Not to mention the families back home… Best of luck waiting for your EAD, I hope you get it in the mail soon!
JRT

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 14, 2017 at 6:24 am

Your EAD card is slow, as we see most people get the card within 4 months. If Info Pass has not helped, you can inquire with the USCIS Ombudsman – a link is at right. They can help with delayed cases, but they are not very fast. Anyway, it may be worth a try. Also, remember that you have a 180-day extension on the old card (I wrote about that and provided links in a posting I did on January 25, 2017). Good luck, Jason

Reply

Tina August 11, 2017 at 9:10 pm

Go ahead and call uscis. I lost a job as a result of the delay. Called them and in a week, I got my card. I applied to renew in February and got it a week after I called them in May. Goodluck

Reply

Andrea August 12, 2017 at 1:01 am

I applied in March 23rd for renewal and I received the card finally today after a phone call that I made on Wednesday August 2nd and then when I checked web pages 3 days later they updated my case from case received to we ordered a new card.

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 14, 2017 at 6:02 am

I am still telling people 4 months, but we have noticed (at least in our office) that EADs are a bit slower. My thought is that maybe USCIS is not prioritizing EADs since they are giving the automatic 180 day extension for renewals, but that is just a guess. If you have waited more than 4 months, you should call USCIS or go there in person to inquire about the EAD. You can find the phone number or get an Info Pass appointment at http://www.uscis.gov. Take care, Jason

Reply

Muna August 10, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Hey Jason

Quick question.

Just wondering if the same service centers process initial EAD applications for people who applied in Virginia and Minnesota. I am asking because my friend from Virginia got his EAD even though he applied after me and mine still says its received. It has been almost 90 days since I applied.

Thanks a lot for all you do!

Reply

Art August 10, 2017 at 3:54 pm

Hi Muna

I also recently applied for my initial EAD but at the Texas Service centre, its been 30 days and I still haven’t received the receipt. I hear it all just depends with how lucky you are . I have seen people here who have received their Intial EAD’s in 30 days . Have you tried to call or make a service request? That might help.

Reply

Asylee August 10, 2017 at 8:45 pm

Appetantly the waiting time is more close to 4 month. I am at day 92, Nebraska. First EAD.I did call two times. Made SR two days ago also. Still pending.

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 14, 2017 at 5:56 am

I really don’t remember which offices process which cases, so I don’t know. I have observed that the wait time for EADs (and most other applications) is somewhat unpredictable, and that most people have their EAD within 4 months of applying, so hopefully it will come soon. Take care, Jason

Reply

EAD August 10, 2017 at 12:10 pm

I applied EAD it already been 75 day but not feedback. I check almost every day but tired of checking . no update, no change. what s really going on . this is my initia EAD . why so much delay
thanks

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 14, 2017 at 5:55 am

We are seeing initial EADs take 2 to 4 months, so if you got the receipt, you should get the EAD fairly soon. Take care, Jason

Reply

AsylumSk in us August 10, 2017 at 12:08 pm

Hello Jason
Unlike other , I feel don’t want to get interview an date soon.
while seeing all these change within the immigration law.with an extreme will of denying the maximum asylum and refugee cases to discourage immigration . Why does the US be kind toward asylum seekers as canada is doing .
Dont you thing that the approval rate of asylum will dramatically drop under this Trump admnistration.

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 14, 2017 at 5:54 am

I expect it will drop. This may partly due to the “tone” being set by our president, but it is also due to more and more bureaucratic obstacles being placed in the way of asylum seekers, and this problem pre-dates Mr. Trump. I may write a blog post on this point soon, if I have time. Take care, Jason

Reply

Hesam August 10, 2017 at 10:44 am

Dear Jason

Thank you for the detailed and informative blog that keeps us all informed and aware.

I’ve done my interview last year and still waiting for the result of it. As I wanted to change my address recently I called for my lawyers help but she avoids me and hasn’t been returning my calls for the past two months. I’ve managed to change my address in USCIS website on my own but an unresponsive lawyer stresses me out day and night fearing she won’t be available if an emergency occurs. What would you suggest me to do at this point? Shall I change my lawyer now or wait for the verdict first? Would changing my lawyer affect my case?

Thank you for your time and attention.

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 14, 2017 at 5:50 am

Changing lawyers now may not be worthwhile, unless it is very necessary. Maybe email the lawyer about your concern. Maybe she is just busy and is slow responding (though if you have been leaving messages, two months is way too long). If you are feeling like it is needed, you can remind her that under the rules of professional responsibility (the rules lawyers must follow), she has an obligation to communicate with you. If none of that works, you can fire her, inform the asylum office by email, and ask them to direct all communications to you, and not to her. You can find contact info for your local asylum office if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

Reply

Cris August 9, 2017 at 8:29 pm

Hi Jason! Thank you very much for helping people like me by answering all our questions and by giving us an update regarding our asylum cases. I have a question. I am currently on EAD and does not have criminal records. Am I also in danger of getting picked up and worse of all deported? I am really not feeling relaxed because of reading that people get arrested, detained and deported. Thank you very much and God bless you.

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 9, 2017 at 10:40 pm

The short answer is, I think you do not need to worry. For the longer answer, see a blog post I did on May 3, 2017. Take care, Jason

Reply

Cris August 10, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Thank you very much! God bless you always.

Reply

Tesseract August 9, 2017 at 6:12 pm

Hi Jason. Thank you for the information. I have a question. My case has been pending since I submitted in March 2014 in Miami office. I moved to Chicago and changed the address (and verified at Chicago office). My interview has yet to be scheduled even though Chicago is interviewing cases from 2015! When should I get the interview?

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 9, 2017 at 10:34 pm

You should get the interview soon. Make sure all your documents are submitted. You can contact the Chicago office and tell them about your filing date and ask when you will be scheduled. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

Reply

Jeni August 9, 2017 at 11:47 am

Hello Jason
I use to follow this blog. I have a concern , my uncle who in fact adopted me was a military. He was an army officer of an army that took power by force on a coup d etat. Our army by then was accused of a lot of human right violation .Another government took power and started former official of the last system which my uncle belonged too. He was an office while I was 9 year.He is on retirement .He had never been accused personally of human violation although the system he worked for was human violator.Nowaday We are being persecuted by the current gov, our business was confiscated.our house was demolished by the current agent of the system. Our company participated in providing service to the rallie and campaign for the opposition last election in hoping they could win and we get peace. our familiy is in fact connected to the leader of opposition . my uncle were serveral time accused of helping the opposition of preparing a coup to the gov.
my question is my asylum case be affected by the fact he is was part of the army that persecuted other .an army which was accused of human right violation at its time.
I personally has never been part of army of any security force,never been into politics. I am just a student .
How can the past work , or affiliation of my uncle to the army affect negatively my asylum case. I am really afraid of going back home . what type of question will I be asked by the officer on my uncle past work.What the gov is doing for us belonging to the former gov system is a revenge , they fear the past system can come back.It really affect not only my uncle but the whole family is affected

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 9, 2017 at 10:26 pm

The asylum form asks whether any of your family members persecuted other people. If he did, you would need to reveal that (and if he is a prominent person, the US government probably knows about him anyway, so you cannot hide it). Generally, his activities should not block you from asylum, especially if you were young at the time. However, it is possible that USCIS will investigate your case more closely, and this could cause delay. You should be prepared to explain your relationship with him, and be prepared to answer questions about his activities that might be of concern to the US government. Take care, Jason

Reply

SAM A August 9, 2017 at 8:21 am

Dear Jason,

Do you have any idea, when this bill actually going to take effect? What will be its impact on new asylum seekers (affirmative asylum)?

Thanks and regards,

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 9, 2017 at 10:16 pm

I do not know whether or when the bill will pass, but even if it does, I do not see any significant effects for affirmative asylum seekers who are not applying for asylum at the border or an airport. Take care, Jason

Reply

Russell August 9, 2017 at 1:22 am

That is definitely not very good bill.
I am curious, will this bill make harder to return to USA with AP for people with pending asylum? I mean, is it possible that officer at the border would ask questions about your asylum case?

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 9, 2017 at 6:35 am

I do not think this bill would affect people traveling on AP. Take care, Jason

Reply

Nola August 8, 2017 at 6:54 pm

Hi Jason,
Thanks so much for this article. The information is scary i must say. This bill will surely make things difficult for asylum seekers even for us with pending cases. Please tell us what are the chances of this bill being passed/accepted? Do you think this bill will seriously reduce the chances of pending cases?

Regards,
Nola

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 9, 2017 at 6:27 am

I think the bill will mostly affect people seeking asylum at the border or airport. I do not see that it has any major effects on people with pending asylum cases. I do not know about the likelihood of it passing; we will have to wait and see. Take care, Jason

Reply

anm August 8, 2017 at 3:58 pm

Hi Jason ,

my interview is scheduled for Monday August 14, i have a support affidavit written by a Doctor works in a Human Rights Clinic , and the Doctor’s Conclusion is to not Force me to go back to my home country as this would generate a lot of Trauma for me, does this count a very supportive Document ?
but, during my Clinic’s Exam, the Doctor has written few weeks later instead of few days in the Affidavit (this doesn’t match my statement ),how can i correct this info as i don’t have enough time to get in touch with the Doctor and inform her to correct the error ?

my interview in Boston Asylum Office , do you know if Boston is one of the speedy offices that can send the response quickly ?

thanks,

Reply

Ang August 8, 2017 at 4:26 pm

Hi there, when did you apply for Asylum in the Boston office? I just wanted to find out the timeline.

Thanks and good luck.

Reply

anm August 8, 2017 at 4:55 pm

Hi ,

i filed in June 2014, my name is in the expedited list so they called me few days ago for opening on that day .

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 9, 2017 at 6:23 am

The letter may help, but it really depends on what it says about you. Some of those letters (where you have one meeting with the doctor and she declares that you have PTSD) seem pretty useless. Others (where you met with the doctor many times for treatment) seem more helpful. I think you need to correct the letter from the doctor – this is a big inconsistency that could cause you to lose the case. You should contact the doctors office – even if the doctor can just write a supplement explaining the error, that is better than nothing. The better result (if you have not already submitted the letter) is for the doctor to correct it. I do not know your case, but you might also consider not using the letter if it is not accurate – it may do more harm than good. Take care, Jason

Reply

CI August 8, 2017 at 11:26 am

Hello Jason,
I am due for interview tomorrow. I was just wondering how long an average asylum interview takes.Any tips to maximize my chance of winning the case? Take care

Reply

Andrea August 8, 2017 at 9:56 pm

Good luck, mine last 2 hours and 45 minutes. Hope the best for you tomorrow.

Reply

CI August 9, 2017 at 2:35 pm

Thanks Andrea,
Mine was actually one hour. Which office did you apply to? Have you gotten your decision yet? Take care

Reply

L.f August 8, 2017 at 10:31 pm

Good luck
If you don’t mind tomorrow to share the timeline, office and experience pleaseeee

Reply

CI August 9, 2017 at 2:24 pm

Hi L.F,
My interview was one hour total. The asylum officer just asked general questions. He didnt go to details about names and places even though my case had a lot of these things. I think it went well but i will have to wait until i see the results before i celebrate 🙂. Office is Chicago applied 3 yrs ago

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 9, 2017 at 6:13 am

It may be too late now, but I did a post about this on September 8, 2016, and that might help. Interview are usually 2 or 3 hours, but it really depends on the case. Good luck, Jason

Reply

CI August 9, 2017 at 2:25 pm

Mine was an hour total,
I think it went well, i will have to wait and see the decision mailed. Thanks Jason.
Take care

Reply

Andrea August 12, 2017 at 1:07 am

Sorry , I nust saw your message, my office was Lyndhurst NJ and I picked up my decision 2 weeks later. I wish you the best!

Reply

Asylee August 8, 2017 at 10:37 am

Hi jason. Thx for all your help.A friend is asking:i come to america on f1 studying visa to study in a university in us.my problem is that the money i got wont cover the fees and expenses for one year studying period which is the period i would spend to study and i would like to stay at the usa and never come back to my country , because i fear persecution there and my wife would come to join me after my arrival by about 2 or 3 weeks<br
My question is in case i leave the university, should this cause me any problem affecting my asylum as i am gonna file for asylum soon. Should the university file any report against me asking for the study fees. Please take into consideration that i have not attend any lectures in the university yet.

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 9, 2017 at 6:12 am

I have never heard of universities trying to collect fees for students who quit, but they do report such students to the US government. This should not affect an asylum case though. Take care, Jason

Reply

ÝAsylee August 9, 2017 at 7:10 am

Thx jason for your reply. I am a bit confused. I think that the university will report that the student escaped the study and he should have paid the fees since the university reserved a place for the student that wouldbe vaccant if he quits. This means the university will lose money. Moreover you have saod the university will repoet to the us government. Can I ask what will they report in your point of view to the government.

Reply

Aryan August 9, 2017 at 8:52 pm

Hi Respected Sir

I will be applying for my first ever EAD on Auguest 22nd 2017. My quiries are :
1. Which supporting documents do I need to submit along with EAD application form?
2. I am from Philadelphia with asylum Office Lyndhurst NJ.which address Will I have to mail EAD application?
Thanks in advance

Reply

Jason Dzubow August 9, 2017 at 10:41 pm

Sorry, I cannot answer specific questions about applications like these. You have to check the instructions to the form I-765, available at http://www.uscis.gov. Take care, Jason

Jason Dzubow August 9, 2017 at 10:15 pm

My understanding is that the university is required to report any F-1 student that does not show up to USCIS. Beyond that, I do not know. But I have not heard of such students being detained, and we have had students file for asylum and quit school, and their cases were processed normally. As far as the money is concerned, I cannot advise you about that. Take care, Jason

Reply

Jason Dzubow September 8, 2017 at 3:55 pm

Usually, once you respond to an RFE, you get a decision relatively quickly, but I cannot predict the time frame. Hopefully, it will be soon. Take care, Jason

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: