Another Open Letter to My Friends at DHS and DOJ: After Joe Arpaio, What Now?

by Jason Dzubow on August 31, 2017

The Joe Arpaio pardon is an affront to anyone concerned about the rule of law. And this includes the lawyers, judges, and adjudicators I know at the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.

Soulless Joe from Maricopo’

But before we get to that, we need to talk a bit about “Sheriff Joe.” A brief overview of his career as sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona reveals various misdeeds, including–

abuse of power; misuse of funds; failure to investigate sex crimes; improper clearance of cases; unlawful enforcement of immigration laws; and election law violations. A Federal court monitor was appointed to oversee his office’s operations because of complaints of racial profiling. The U.S. Department of Justice concluded that Arpaio oversaw the worst pattern of racial profiling in U.S. history, and subsequently filed suit against him for unlawful discriminatory police conduct. Arpaio’s office paid more than $146 million in fees, settlements, and court awards.

But all that is not what ultimately led to where we are now. Mr. Arpaio was a defendant in a civil rights lawsuit. The judge ordered him to stop racial profiling, but Mr. Arpaio refused to comply. In a civil contempt proceeding, Mr. Arpaio admitted as much to the Court: “Defendants acknowledge and appreciate that they have violated the Court’s orders and that there are consequences for these violations.” In this particular case, the “consequences” proposed by Mr. Arpaio were for the tax payers of Maricopa County to foot the bill for a victim compensation fund. That didn’t pan out, and Mr. Arpaio was charged with criminal contempt.

He was convicted on July 31, 2017. The presiding judge wrote that Mr. Arpaio had “willfully violated an order of the court” by failing “to ensure his subordinates’ compliance and by directing them to continue to detain persons for whom no criminal charges could be filed.” Sentencing was scheduled for October.

Then last week, on a Friday night in the midst of a hurricane, President Trump issued a pardon for the criminal contempt and any other charges that might arise out of the same litigation. In an explanatory statement, the White House called Mr. Arpaio a “worthy candidate” who “protect[ed] the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration.”

So what does this mean? Of course, it means that Joe Arpaio won’t be going to jail. But on a more fundamental level, what does it mean for the rule of law? And what does it mean for those who enforce the law?

It seems to me that the clear signal sent by this pardon is that violating the law–by racial profiling or other means–is acceptable in order to rid our country of the “scourge” of illegal immigration. The ends justify the means.

Such an approach is antithetical to any society that values law and order, and that opposes tyranny. Those sworn to protect our nation’s laws must hold themselves to the highest standards. It is not for them to decide which laws to follow based on their subjective beliefs about right and wrong. They must follow the law. And when they don’t, they must be held accountable. When regular citizens fail to obey the law, it is anarchy. When law enforcement officers fail to obey the law, it is fascism.

And so the Joe Arpaio pardon is an endorsement of fascism. Whether you think all “illegals” should be rounded up and deported, or whether you think they should all be granted green cards makes no difference to this analysis. Fascism is fascism and law is law.

So what does all this mean for attorneys, judges, adjudicators, and others at DOJ and DHS?

It seems to me that you have a duty to uphold the law, regardless of whether the President is willing to tolerate or even encourage you to violate it in the service of his goals. That’s pretty basic, and we’ve seen examples of government officials following the law even when the President discouraged it (see Jeff Sessions and recusal).

But I think there is something more you can do. You can err on the side of non-citizens. Especially these days, the deck is stacked against aliens seeking immigration benefits. Simple mistakes on forms can lead to severe consequences. Minor criminal convictions can lead to banishment for life. The over-broad terrorism bar treats victims of terror like terrorists. Prosecutorial discretion is gone. The denial rate for asylum cases is on the rise. We are seeing more and more requests for evidence, and the wait time for many immigration benefits is getting longer. Not to mention the travel ban, increased use of detention, the backlog, etc., etc. In other words, the situation on the immigrant-side of the fence ain’t easy.

But if you are an adjudicator or an attorney or a judge with DHS or DOJ, you have some power to mitigate these difficulties. You have some flexibility in your decision-making. You are in a position to blunt some of the worst excesses of the Trump Administration. You can help act as a counter-balance when the President encourages law enforcement to push the boundaries of the law, as he did with the Joe Arpaio pardon.

Immigration and asylum laws are not nearly as harsh as the Trump Administration would have us believe. But the President is trying to use immigration law and procedure in a way that blocks people from coming here, or that deports those who are here. It is up to the people on the front line of that effort to protect the rule of law. Judges, adjudicators, and attorneys have the legal authority to grant cases, and in the face of the Trump Administration’s attack on the rule of law, they should continue to do so. The lives of many immigrants–and our country’s fealty to the rule of law–depend on it.

{ 145 comments… read them below or add one }

Alex September 19, 2017 at 5:01 pm

My advice is withdraw your asylum, get a GC based on marriage and only then think if it’s worth the risk to go back home because USCIS and Homeland security know everything about you.

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Samir September 10, 2017 at 3:22 pm

Hi Jason,

I am asking this question on behalf of a friend . This friend of mine entered the US on a J1 exchange visa which has two years home residency requirement, due to fear of persecution in his home country he had to apply for asylum and he has had two asylum interviews and at the end his case was referred to an immigration judge almost two years ago. Recently he got engaged with an American citizen who is willing to help him get his green card through marriage , however since his asylum case is still not decided and he still has two years home residency on his head , is there any way he can apply for waiver of two years home residency so he can apply for his green card through marriage and forget about asylum as it is stuck with immigration judge ?

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Jason Dzubow September 11, 2017 at 6:23 am

It is possible to waive the J-1 home-residency requirement. He has to apply for that (it is somewhat similar to the asylum application). If the home-residency requirement is waived, he is most likely eligible to get a green card based on marriage. All this (plus the court case) is tricky, and he would be well advised to use a lawyer to get him through it. Take care, Jason

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Eli September 11, 2017 at 3:41 pm

I think she may not be able to waive the home residency requirement. I remember there are two main factors decides the waive. 1. home residency waive should be requested while the applicant is still in J1 visa status. 2. the applicant should provide an authorization letter from her J1 sponsoring body ( most of the time an agency of you home country) stating that they don’t have objections for the waiver.

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Jason Dzubow September 12, 2017 at 6:23 am

These are good points. The person should talk to a lawyer about whether the J-1 waiver is possible; it may not be. Thank you, Jason

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Ahmad September 10, 2017 at 6:39 am

Hi Jason,

I have been granted asylum , but I still don’t have my green card. My EAD says it will expire in like 4 months from now. Do I need to apply for my EAD renewal ? Or being asylee status gives me indefinite work authorization ?

Thanks in advance .

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Thomas September 10, 2017 at 11:17 am

Wait a couple more days. You’re going to receive an EAD in the mail. The asylum office orders one for you without you asking for it. It is part of the asylum grant package. It will be valid for two years. You are also authorized to work without it. The I-94 along with you unrestricted social security card (which you should apply for) and a government issued picture ID is enough proof.

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Jason Dzubow September 10, 2017 at 12:07 pm

It may be that there are statements from the government indicating that asylees can work even without the EAD, but in practical terms you need the EAD. If you have won asylum more than a year ago, you can apply for the GC and apply for a new EAD based on the pending GC – if you pay for the GC, the EAD is included at no additional cost. Take care, Jason

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Sara September 10, 2017 at 12:14 pm

Hi Jason,
Wouldn’t an updated social security card, one that doesn’t say it’s only valid for work with INS authorization, solve that issue? (So that an asylee can work without needing to present an EAD.)

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Thomas September 10, 2017 at 8:50 pm

It does. I only gave my employer my SS card and my state ID, and my I-94 card (the I-9 form only requires two of those.) My employer was satisfied, and the I-9 passed USCIS’s inspection. Having an EAD card is just more proof.

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Sara September 11, 2017 at 12:56 am

Thanks for the info, Thomas.

Jason Dzubow September 11, 2017 at 6:16 am

Maybe, but most employers would like to see a photo ID, and it may even be required to get the job (I have not looked at the employment eligibility rules Ina while, and so I am not sure). Take care, Jason

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Ahmad September 12, 2017 at 9:46 am

I called USCIS to get a clarification on this issue , I basically asked them that my EAD is expiring in 4 months from now and my green card is still in the processing queue . They gave me two options :
Option 1) Apply for unrestricted SSN , and then show the new SSN along with I-94 that mentions asylum grant with photo ID.
Option 2) Download the form I-765 from USCIS website this form is basically the EAD application based on pending green card application , and while submitting I-765 I should submit the I-797 that I received after submitting my green card application that will prove that my green card application is still pending. And there will be no filing fee for it .

NZM September 10, 2017 at 10:29 pm

Jason you have stated that once a person pays for GC, the EDA is included at no additional cost…however, when I applied to renew my EAD while my application for GC is still pending my applction for EAD renewal was returned and I was asked to resubmit the application with the appropriate fee…my application for GC has been on hold for the material support provision of INA for almost 10 years…so far I had renewed my EAD 8 times without paying the fee and I also have obtained 6 travel documents without paying the fee but I guess the service has changed the policy…I would appreciate if you have any information about this issue…when I contacted the USCIS customer service they could not provide a clear answer…

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Jason Dzubow September 11, 2017 at 6:35 am

I have no specific info about this, but it is pretty clear that USCIS is become more restrictive across the board, and so this is not surprising. I hope to learn more about what is going on there, and if I do, I will post something about it. Take care, Jason

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Ahmad September 10, 2017 at 6:23 am

Hi Jason,

I was granted asylum by the US couple of years ago. However my green card is still in process. According to USCIS they have a back log for processing green cards that are based on granted asylum status. So my question is will USCIS count the time that I have been waiting after my asylum grant toward my US citizenship waiting time ?
Second question is , after I get my green card , do I still need to use travel document to travel overseas or can I use the passport that is issued by embassy of my home country ?

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Runner September 10, 2017 at 10:40 am

Oh no , you cannot use your home country passport as that will make the govt Suspect that your case was fraudulent! If you don’t mind Ahmad , could you share your timeline with us . Thanks

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Ahmad September 10, 2017 at 3:13 pm

Hi Runner,

My timeline is as below:

09/2013 applied for asylum
12/2015 had asylum interview
01/2016 received asylum grant
01/2017 applied for green card
( nothing heard about my green card so far since they are back logged )

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NZM September 10, 2017 at 10:35 pm

Mr. Ahmad you should contact the customer service and find out the reason for the delay in processing your GC…Just hope that your application is not put on hold because of the material support bar of INA.

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Ahmad September 12, 2017 at 9:48 am

I called USCIS several times inquiring about my green card status they said it is in the processing queue.

Jason Dzubow September 10, 2017 at 12:05 pm

The waiting time will not be counted in this way, though when they issue a GC for asylees, they backdate the card by one year, so that helps a bit. It is better to travel with a Refugee Travel Document. If you travel with your passport, it could raise issues with USCIS about why you traveled using a passport from a country where you fear harm. Maybe you can explain this to USCIS, but it is still better to use the RTD, as it avoids this problem. Take care, Jason

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Ahmad September 10, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Thanks for the reply Jason. So from your answer what I understand is that even if my green card is issued I should use travel document. And if I happen to travel to my home country for any emergency reasons then I will have to apply for the visa of my home country on my travel document and enter my country with it and then use my green card along with travel document to enter back to the US , is that correct ?

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Thomas September 10, 2017 at 10:08 pm

That is not correct. Anything that has to do with your home country can take your asylum away. If you use their passport, or even go back, CBP will catch you on arrival, hold you in secondary immigration for days, get authorization from a judge to strip you from your asylum and deport you back. I work at the airport, and I see this alot. It mostly happens to people from Iraq. You can try and explain, but CBP wont listen. They won’t even let you talk to lawyers.

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Jason Dzubow September 11, 2017 at 6:30 am

We have not seen anything quite this harsh, and you should be able to present your case to an Immigration Judge, but it is a fair warning – returning to the home country can have bad consequences for your status in the US. Take care, Jason

Jason Dzubow September 11, 2017 at 6:25 am

I am not sure about traveling to your home country with the RTD. I think that could cause problems, since it clearly alerts your home government to your status. I think if that is your plan, you should talk to a lawyer beforehand to decide how to do this and minimize the risk to your immigration status in the US. Take care, Jason

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Karen September 10, 2017 at 1:12 am

EAD renewal time Texas service center:

15-May-2017 uscis received my docs
9-Sep-2017 received my renewed EAD in mail.

One note, on my renewed EAD they didn’t print my signature under photo as they did before, but instead of it text:”Signature Waived”
Good luck!

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Jason Dzubow September 10, 2017 at 11:49 am

It is strange to me that some people who filed in May received the EAD, while others who filed in April are still waiting. But I suppose this happens sometimes, and it is not that unusual. Thank you for sharing your time line, Jason

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L.F September 10, 2017 at 1:21 pm

I applied for renewal EAD
Uscis received: may 24, but I’m still waiting to get it..
Nebraska office. It’s taking time now

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Jason Dzubow September 11, 2017 at 6:18 am

EADs a re quite slow lately. We are seeing people waiting 4 months or more. Hopefully, you will get it soon. Take care, Jason

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Yene September 9, 2017 at 12:30 am

I have forgotten to ask you some things about my EAD
i was telling you that when they sent my EAD recepit number with the wrong catagory which is C18 , instead of C08 and bc of this i get termination peper from my company and still i am jobless
I was calling to uscis repitedly and nothing they have change insead of saying sorry this fault and will correct
I was also in infopass and they also telling me will doing soon
But starting from May 15 2017 , calling repitedly to them and nothing is change on my EAD ,
A freind of mine is getting his EAD after he apply after me , but mine is stack somewhere , what should i do where to complent next to infopass
I can not pay my bill
Is there any way to get my EAD Soon this is my second EAD not first time
I get confused what to do , may if this keep going for one month i will be homeless
Does Any one can say somethings who i can get my EAD or is there a means of expidit
Starting from May 15 ,2017 i am trying to get my EAD , but i could not
Is there any means if i tell about this during interview on 9/13/2017
Thanks for your time guys

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Kristi September 10, 2017 at 2:56 am

If I understand you right, are you having interview 9/13/2017,is that right? If you are, they hold you EAD by purpose. Sorry, but you are not going to get it until you will pass an interview. It happened with me…
Take care

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Chibababa September 10, 2017 at 7:15 am

Hi Kristi. Can you explain your situation? I had an interview a month before my EAD expired and it expired and still waiting for a decision for a over a month now. I had already applied for it when I went for the interview. And it’s been just over 90 days waiting. Do you think they will hold mine as well till I get a decision. I have been let go by my job and struggling.

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Jason Dzubow September 11, 2017 at 6:09 am

Sometimes, decisions take many months, and we have not seen USCIS hold EAD applications pending a decision. On the other hand, we have seen most EAD applications slow down, and they often take 4 or 5 months, so hopefully you will get the new card soon (or better yet, get a good decision soon). Also, did you tell your employer about the automatic extension of the EAD? I did a posting on January 25, 2017 with links to he government websites about this. Take care, Jason

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Kristi September 11, 2017 at 6:58 pm

I think you are going to get your EAD soon. They hold EAD, if you fail to come on interview. As I know, the decision doesn’t make any difference for EAD RENEWAL.
Good luck

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Jason Dzubow September 10, 2017 at 10:53 am

You can call USCIS or go to another Info Pass and ask to expedite. Maybe you can give them a letter from your employer that you will lose your job, and also evidence that you may become homeless. Also, you can contact the USCIS Ombudsman (a link is at right). They can sometimes help with delayed cases, but they are not so fast. Good luck, Jason

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Ali September 8, 2017 at 8:14 pm

Hi Jason. I talked to my lawyer for short notice list. But He told me that there is no such list. According to him, It is a myth.

What must I do now? I will talk to my lawyer but I think It is not kind to tell a lawyer what to do. What do you suggest?

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Jason Dzubow September 10, 2017 at 10:42 am

Some office have short notices lists; others do not, but obviously it is not a myth. Every office can except an expedite request, if you have a reason to expedite. I did a posting about that on March 30, 2017, and maybe that would help. Take care, Jason

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FS September 8, 2017 at 5:50 pm

Hello

I would like to ask about something here how important it is to have a lawyer at the interview ?! Is it a good idea to be prepared by your lawyer and go by yourself?! And if I want to have another lawyer ,how that will affect the case before the AO? Thank you for your help

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Jason Dzubow September 10, 2017 at 10:40 am

I did a post about this on July 7, 2016 that might help. Having a lawyer prepare you for an interview is more important that having a lawyer at the interview, but that decision depends on what you want to do and what you can afford. The asylum officer should not care whether you use one lawyer or another (as long as the lawyer does not have a bad reputation). Take care, Jason

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Sara September 8, 2017 at 3:57 pm

? Interview Scheduling Bulletin update alert ?

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Jason Dzubow September 8, 2017 at 4:04 pm

Whoa. You are on top of things. Thanks for the tip. And if you are in DC and in need of minimum wage employment, let me know (we are pretty poor and very cheap). Take care, Jason

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Sara September 8, 2017 at 4:14 pm

I’ll take you up on your offer if I ever move to DC. I can definitely use a job besides potty training with zero gratitude.

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Jason Dzubow September 8, 2017 at 5:10 pm

We could also use you for that in my house…

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Sara September 8, 2017 at 5:42 pm

😀 It’s a grueling task! Good luck!

L.F September 8, 2017 at 5:41 pm

Thnx Sara, I’m still at work, but now more slow and I couldn’t write before
I told you last night be prepared every moment now…
God bless you, Jason you as well ??

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Sara September 8, 2017 at 5:44 pm

Thanks, L.F., and you were absolutely right about being prepared. I’ll let you know when that letter finally comes in the mail.
Have a nice weekend 🙂
-Sara

Milly September 10, 2017 at 2:34 pm

Hi Sara!

I was checking the bulletin almost every day but I didn’t pay attention on the dates. The date on the bottom still says it was last reviewed 07/13/17, however the interview dates refreshed.
We applied with my spouse 2015 june, it means we’re quite close…we haven’t started preparation yet so tomorrow I call our lawyer to get started.

Thank you for letting us know!!!

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Milly September 10, 2017 at 2:36 pm

Applied for NY office

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Sara September 11, 2017 at 12:59 am

Happy to help, Milly 🙂

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Yene September 7, 2017 at 4:55 pm

Hi dear sir jason D . Realy you are doing good and i can say that your are the only man helpping the asylee who get confused
Yesterday i had my interview in arlington office , and the interview was taking about 3 hr and even i have not completed my interview and get other 2 nd interview on next week
Does this siund good or what it make this long
My lawey also asking other extra pay for next interview is that also normal , he is going to charge me other $ 750 . now i do not have this money to pay becuse i have sotp working becuse of my EAD problem which made by USCIS on the catagory change when the type
So if went to go for interview without a lawyer for the 2 nd interview does it make any problem
The 2nd interview will be next week
Thank for your time

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Ha September 7, 2017 at 7:42 pm

It is normal, I had 6 and half hours interview

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Yene September 7, 2017 at 11:34 pm

So have you got the replay do get garant or you have not got yet thr reasult
How long it take to get the replay after for the case to replay from the office

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Ha September 8, 2017 at 2:53 am

It took me 22 month for the decision after the interview, i granted asylum in LA.

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asylum seeker September 8, 2017 at 12:08 pm

could you share what country you are from HA?

Yene September 8, 2017 at 10:45 pm

I am from ethiopia

Ha September 9, 2017 at 3:53 am

Syrian

Nagham September 9, 2017 at 12:24 pm

hello HA
Can you tell me when did u apply in LA and when was your interview ?

Ha September 10, 2017 at 3:29 am

Applied Apr 2014
Interviewed June 2014
Second interview Oct 2016 with the Supervisor
Approval April 2016
Are you in LA as well?
When you applied?

Ha September 10, 2017 at 3:30 am

I am sorry
Second interview Oct 2015

Nagham September 13, 2017 at 7:35 pm

Hello HA thanks for your reply .
yes my husband in LA
Applied July 2015
No interview until now
We are Syrian also

john September 7, 2017 at 10:34 pm

I hope you will be Ok Yene.
By the way what month did you apply?. I mean what months are interviewing the Arlington office these days?
thanks

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Yene September 7, 2017 at 11:28 pm

I apply in 2015 on novmber
I had interview on 09/06/2017
The 2nd one will be on 09/13/2017
They are interview Jun 201
But mine is expidit case

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Yene September 7, 2017 at 11:29 pm

It is 2014

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Jason Dzubow September 8, 2017 at 3:32 pm

Based on our case load, Arlington is interviewing people who filed in June 2014. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow September 8, 2017 at 3:21 pm

Whether he can charge $750 depends on your contract with him. We charge $500 for a second interview, but that is on the low side. You can go on your own, though having a lawyer there can help in some cases. Whether it is a good or bad sign that your interview is so long, I cannot say, as each case is different. Good luck, Jason

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Yene September 8, 2017 at 11:18 pm

How you doing jason
Today i have received i letter for 2 nd interview which is on 09/13/2017 @ 7 :30 am
They also telling me to bring consultant , witnesses , evidence on my case , what does it mean that , i have allready submit my case all what i have ,
As per the witnesses i could not understand what it mean , or how could i get persone from my country ?
And more what it mean consutant ?
Thanks for you time

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Dave September 10, 2017 at 12:33 am

Am not a law professional.My guess is a witness is a person who knows what you went through. For example if you faced a religious persecution you can bring a priest. If you are political you can have a party rep testify for you etc. good luck

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Jason Dzubow September 10, 2017 at 10:47 am

Maybe by consultant, they mean a lawyer, but I do not know for sure. Probably the letter they sent you is a standard letter, so if you already have submitted evidence, they should have it. As for witnesses, if you have someone here who is a witness to your case, maybe that person can write a statement about what they know and attend the interview with you, though normally, they do not talk to witnesses in these cases. If you do not have a witness, you cannot bring anyone. Take care, Jason

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Dave September 9, 2017 at 7:44 pm

You don’t need a lawyer. I went by myself. Depends on your grasp of English though. If you feel like you can’t express yourself on a level required to convince AO get a translator for lower $.

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Jason Dzubow September 10, 2017 at 11:41 am

It depends on the case, and sometimes it is a good idea to have a lawyer. Some cases have complicated legal issues, but most do not. Anyway, I wrote about this on July 7, 2016, and maybe that would help. Take care, Jason

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Anna September 6, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Good afternoon!

After my interview i had waited 9 months and yesterday they sent me intent of deny. They asked me give them more evidences((( What I need to do?

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Jason Dzubow September 7, 2017 at 4:08 pm

You need to respond to the letter. Normally, the response must be submitted within 16 days (in other words, your response must be received by the asylum office in 16 days or less after the date on the letter). You need to respond to each point in the letter. You might want to ask a lawyer to help you, though there is little time. If you do not respond, your case will be denied. It is possible to convince them to grant a case even after receiving this letter, but it is difficult. Good luck, Jason

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Sara September 7, 2017 at 4:15 pm

I thought an NOID meant an automatic court referral which is obviously wrong. Learning new things every day on here.

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L.F September 7, 2017 at 7:46 pm

Sara, my friend applied April 6, 2015 NYAO,
Got invitation for interview for today
But he’s lawyer was in vacation and he canes back yesterday and saw the paper from uscis, and told my friend to reschedule the interview bc they’re not prepared for today, sooo sad
I think you applied in April too & i think u getting interviewed next month

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Sara September 7, 2017 at 7:49 pm

You’re awesome for letting me know, L.F.! And for remembering my month!
I’ll let you know when I get my invitation because it will mean we’re a month away from you.
Thanks again and good luck to your friend 🙂

Jason Dzubow September 8, 2017 at 3:17 pm

You should not trust most of what I say, but about the NOID, you can respond and USCIS can change their mind and grant – we’ve done it, but that was in the salad days of the Obama Administration. These days, I am not so sure. Take care, Jason

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Tina September 11, 2017 at 12:30 pm

Just out of curiosity, what is your country of origin??

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Tina September 11, 2017 at 2:01 pm

Oh! the question is for Sarah, please

Sara September 11, 2017 at 3:38 pm

Hey Tina ? I’m from 3 different countries, Egypt being my country of origin. And I was born and raised in a fourth country lol

Tina September 11, 2017 at 11:19 pm

Thanks for responding?I sincerely think it’s gracious. All the best.

Saleem September 6, 2017 at 10:22 am

Hi,My a friend from Pakistan is political leader.4 years ago due to life threats in Pakistan he moved with family to afghanistan.there he is declared as Refugee by UNHCR 3 years ago.until he is waiting to move to 3rd country as many people before.My friend wants to move to u.s.a on unhcr refugee basis/ asylum basis.is it possible.if yes then he wants to do you lawer. plz guide.Thanks.

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Jason Dzubow September 8, 2017 at 6:23 am

Sometimes, the UN will resettle a refugee in a new country, but where they send the person may depend on whether he has connections to the new country, or whether that country will accept the person. I think it will not be easy to get resettled in the US now, as we are taking fewer refugees, but it is not something I know much about or could assist with. Sorry. Take care, Jason

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Sash September 6, 2017 at 10:21 am

Hi Jason, First of all, Thank you very much for helping so many that individuals , families that requires help and advise.
That being said, today I had my master hearing and my merit hearing was scheduled for Aug 2019, It is mind boggling but i have to live with it. My father and my brother was granted asylum about 3 years ago . And during my Master hearing today, the Judge mentioned about confidentially wavier for them ? I am a little confused about it ? Do I have to do anything , send any forms ? I googled it and there was a form from ICE called, PRIVACY WAIVER AUTHORIZING DISCLOSURE TO A THIRD PARTY , Do I have my dad and brother fill that and send it to the courts . I would so very much appreciate your advise. Thank you Jason once again.

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Jason Dzubow September 8, 2017 at 6:21 am

We have had many asylees testify in court for their family members’ cases, and we never had to do this. I am not sure what the judge means, but maybe it is something that they need internally to transfer their files to your judge. Your lawyer should talk to DHS about what is needed. In general, though, we have the asylee write a letter and submit it with a copy of their ID and asylum approval. We file it with all the other evidence. And then they also come to court as a witness. We have never had a problem with doing it that way. I do think you (or better yet, your lawyer) needs to figure out what the judge wants, though, and I think the best way to do that is to talk to the DHS lawyer. Take care, Jason

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Chibababa September 6, 2017 at 10:20 am

Dear Jason. I have a question. I’m an asylum seeker and I have been interviewed over a months ago and I’m still awaiting my decision. I wanted to start school at a community college but they are denying that I pay instate fees as they say I’m on a temporary work permit so I cannot be granted this benefit. Is there anyway around this?

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Jason Dzubow September 8, 2017 at 6:18 am

Most schools charge out-of-state fees unless the asylum case has been granted. Different schools (and states) seem to have different policies, so you may try other schools to see whether you can get in-state tuition with them. Take care, Jason

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bagira September 5, 2017 at 7:30 pm

dear Jason..
I applied for EAD on March 2017 as my current one will expired Sep 2017 and got receipt with fee waiver approved, since that time I did get nothings except today I got letter by someone called Gregory A Richarson with denied decision because I didn’t pay the fees.. can you imagine that? and request me to fill form I-290B with fee $675 to reopen my case. I need your advice.. thanks.

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bagira September 7, 2017 at 4:34 pm

one more thing..
Form I-765 is NOT one of the form to use Form I-290B for? and no where to submit it to according to the instructions.
can be the Acting director named above either doesNOT know how to do the Job OR he just want to make it harder to all immigrants?

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Jason Dzubow September 8, 2017 at 3:20 pm

I believe you can appeal a denial of an I-765 using form I-290B, but it is almost always better to file a new I-765, as the 290B takes a long time, and it is expensive. In some cases, though, the 290B might be appropriate, but it depends on the case, and that would be a rare event. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow September 8, 2017 at 5:50 am

USCIS is becoming much more difficult about all applications, and this is another example. It is truly disgusting, and I am trying to find our what is going on over there. If I can learn something, I will post about it here. In any event, the I-290B is a waste of money and time for EAD denials. I recommend you file again with the fee. Or, if you want to do the 290B, maybe find a lawyer (or non-profit) to file that and help you craft a good argument (and evaluate whether you have a good argument too), and maybe file a new I-765 at the same time. If you file for a new EAD, you might ask to expedite based on the prior denial and the fact that your EAD is now expiring. Let us know what happens. Thank you, Jason

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bagira September 18, 2017 at 10:51 am

After 3 inquires by phone to the USCIS and 2 infopass meeting in my local USCIS office. and lost my job, suspended my bank account and raise the issue to a supervisor about their mistake, my case had been reopened and get processing, approved and I should receive my new card by mail soon.
It’s really long hard time but I won finally my EAD application. It’s really funny this administration.

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Jason Dzubow September 19, 2017 at 6:23 am

There is mounting evidence that the USCIS is throwing bureaucratic obstacles in people’s way in order to make things more difficult. I will write something about it this week, but we still do not know exactly what is going on in terms of any new policy. Take care, Jason

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Chibababa September 19, 2017 at 9:32 am

This is disgusting, land of the free huh? I have been fired from my job. I’m not working, I can barely feed myself. My EAD has been pending 100 days now. I called USCIS twice and the last time they said someone will get back to me via email via email. I’m so dissapointed with the system. This is more of like oppression of asylum seekers

Marcus September 5, 2017 at 7:20 pm

Dear Jason,
I was granted asylum this morning. I wanted to address my gratitudes for all the insights you have provided to us during this long wait. You are truly exceptional.
I applied in November 2014.
1st fingerprints in December 2014
2 EAD’s along the way.
Received the letter to appear for an interview in July 2017-Got Interviewed the same month in Newark.
2nd fingerprints in August.
Received the approval by mail after 1.1/2 month.

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Jason Dzubow September 8, 2017 at 5:46 am

Congratulations! Great news, and thank you for sharing the time line. Take care, Jason

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Bae September 5, 2017 at 4:52 pm

Please can anyone recommend a Good lawyer in new jersey That has won a case on LGBT Or any other….

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Jason Dzubow September 8, 2017 at 5:42 am

There is an organization in NY that specifically works on such cases called “Immigration Equality”. Maybe you can contact them and they may have a list of lawyer who can assist. Take care, Jason

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Sara September 5, 2017 at 4:33 pm

Another day, another interview scheduling bulletin non-update. They’ve been on the month before mine since the last update in June, so one can only assume that my AO is on vacation.

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Sara September 5, 2017 at 4:36 pm

(Given that my invitation letter has not come in, yet.)

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Jason Dzubow September 8, 2017 at 5:41 am

I’ve been wondering about that too. At least in Virginia, based on our own cases, it seems that the Scheduling Bulletin has not advanced much (I think it says April to June 2014, and they seem to be working on cases from June). Things are going down hill across the board, and so maybe this is one more indicator, or maybe it is just summer vacation and they will post soon. We shall see. Take care, Jason

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Sara September 8, 2017 at 3:54 pm

There’s a reason I type “bull” in my address bar to access the page.

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Sara September 8, 2017 at 3:55 pm

Aaaaand update!

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IA September 4, 2017 at 11:03 pm

Hello wondered if you could clear this up for me . I recently got a biometrics appointment for my green card application based on asylum with code 5 . At the appointment the lady only scanned 4 fingers on my right hand excluding the thumb . She also took my picture and signature . I found it strange as I thought there was only code 1, 2 and 3 any idea what code5 stands for ? Thanks !

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Jason Dzubow September 5, 2017 at 6:42 am

We have not had any problems with biometrics, and so I have never looked into that. DHS has a lot of internal codes, and I do not know if there is a public source to de-code them. If you find one, let us know. Thank you, Jason

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N September 4, 2017 at 9:27 pm

Animal trump cause of him we cannot receive work permits on time and as always no any asylum wants to fight . Lets bombard all iacos offices. Why should we wait that long? Why in pimple obama time it took only 45 days to get work permit? And during this bastard trumpet administration time itsstakes forever?? Why ?????

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Jason Dzubow September 5, 2017 at 6:38 am

Although I have nothing good to say about Trump, I am not sure that the current EAD delays are related to him, or whether this is the normal ebbs and flows of USCIS. For years, processing times went up and down, and so we will have to wait to see what happens. I do think USCIS is getting more strict, though, meaning more requests for evidence, and I think this is probably related to the Trump Administration. Take care, Jason

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Tina September 11, 2017 at 12:17 pm

Wow! I cringed?

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Ali September 4, 2017 at 8:35 pm

Hi Jason , can I send my mother letter of invitation on pending asylum , I am on pending asylum since dec 2014. Thanks

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Jason Dzubow September 5, 2017 at 6:36 am

You can, but I expect it will be difficult for her to come to the US. She will have to explain why she does not plan to seek asylum, even if her child has filed for asylum. Anyway, she can try. Let us know what happens. Thank you, Jason

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Andrey September 3, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Hi Jason,

I wanted to share my story about dealing with USCIS bureaucracy. When I reached out to the Asylum Office, I was informed that the decision on my case had been made and mailed out on July 18. However, up until August I still did’t receive any mail. When I emailed Asylum Office again it turned out that they didn’t have correct address (even though I did update them on my change of address). I asked them if they could re-issue the decision and mail it again to the right address. They told me that it was not possible because the original letter needs to be retrieved first. Eventually, the original letter never got retrieved and I had to call them again. For one week I could’t talk to anyone who could explain me what was going on. Instead I was transferred to leave voicemail messages that nobody even listened to. In mid-August I got an email response from them saying that Asylum Office doesn’t have my file since they transfer completed cases to USCIS National Center. They told me to wait until they get my file back so that they could re-issue the decision. On Aug 29, after I called them multiple times they requested that I file lost mail report with local police and submit this document to them. I have done it immediately and on September 1 I came to the Asylum Office to get my decision, which was grant of asylum. However, on my I-94 Form they put the wrong date of grant of asylum and misspelled my last name. I had to return again to ask them to re-issue the document. At some point I felt like it was all just a joke but it seems like this is becoming more and more common.

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Jason Dzubow September 3, 2017 at 12:06 pm

It does seem like a (bad) joke. Read Kafka or see the movie Brazil to make yourself feel better (or maybe worse). Thank you for sharing the story. Take care, Jason

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asylum seeker September 3, 2017 at 6:28 pm

Gongratulations Andrey, do you mind sharing your time line and asylum office?

Thx,

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Andrey September 4, 2017 at 2:13 pm

Thank you. Here is my timeline:

Arrived to the USA: 1/25/16
Asylum Application sent: 2/26/16
Expedite request submitted: 11/18/16
Expedite request approved: 3/24/17
Interview at Newark: 4/24/17
Recommended Approval: 5/8/17
Grant of Asylum: 7/11/17

In total, from the time I arrived to the US to the grant of asylum, I waited about one year and a half.

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Thomas September 4, 2017 at 4:49 pm

I also waited about a year and a half. A little less tho.
Arrived in the US: 15 August 2015
Asylum application sent: 31 August 2015
Expedite request: 15 February 2016 (they approved my request on the spot, I didn’t have to wait for an answer. I applied in person at the Chicago asylum office)
Interview in Chicago: 15 December 2016
Asylum grant: 17 January 2017

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Andrey September 4, 2017 at 5:17 pm

That’s very rare with current backlogs. What country are you from?

Akhan September 4, 2017 at 7:52 pm

Congratulations Andrey. You are so lucky. I am waiting for my decision since June 2016.

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Thomas September 4, 2017 at 10:06 pm

Yea I know it’s rare. I’m pretty sure extreme cases are prioritized. I’m from Lebanon.

Jason Dzubow September 5, 2017 at 6:27 am

That is pretty fast by today’s standards. Congratulations and thank you for sharing this, Jason

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Alex September 19, 2017 at 4:45 pm

So you only dealt with them for a little over a month? Congrats, some have to do it for months and even year with no luck. Glad you got approved tho!

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Meb September 3, 2017 at 8:58 am

Hi Jason, if I am granted asylum and moved to other state should I always fill the address change to USCIS? What happens if I don’t fill the address change?

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Jason Dzubow September 3, 2017 at 12:05 pm

Until you are a US citizen, you have to inform USCIS whenever you change your address. Use form AR-11, available at http://www.uscis.gov. Take care, Jason

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Ha September 5, 2017 at 1:26 am

Even if I have a green card?

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Jason Dzubow September 5, 2017 at 6:43 am

Yes – if you have a green card, you are required to file the AR-11 when you move. Take care, Jason

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Pending asylum September 2, 2017 at 6:27 pm

Hello Jason,
I have asylum application pending and I got married to US citizen. I am planning to file marriage base AOS and planning withdraw asylum application. If I decide to travel to my home country after withdrawing asylum application will there be any problem.

Thank you for your help.

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Jason Dzubow September 3, 2017 at 7:15 am

Maybe – If the government thinks your first asylum application was fake (based on your return trip), it could certain create problems for you. Make sure you keep evidence of your case, in the event that the government accuses you of fraud. Take care, Jason

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Pending asylum September 3, 2017 at 1:16 pm

Thank you for your reply.
If even I have marriage base green card still there is chances of denial of entry?

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Jason Dzubow September 5, 2017 at 6:21 am

If they decide your original asylum application was fraudulent, they could place you into removal proceedings where you (and DHS) would present the case to a judge, even if you have a GC based on marriage. I do not think they would deny you entry, but they might send you to immigration court. This is probably not very likely, but it is possible. Take care, Jason

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Alex September 19, 2017 at 4:49 pm

My advice is withdraw your asylum, get a GC based on marriage and only then think if it’s worth the risk to go back home because USCIS and Homeland security know everything about you.

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Pending asylum September 2, 2017 at 6:22 pm

Hello Jason,
I have question regarding my advance parole, I have asylum case pending I am thinking to apply advance parole.
If I get advance parole approve can I traval internationally for a
Month ( not my home country ) Is it safe, is there chances of denial at port of entry. I don’t have any criminal record also my 18 month son is US citizen. I will be traveling with him.

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Jason Dzubow September 3, 2017 at 7:13 am

If you get AP, you should be able to leave and return (though do not go to the home country). If you are from a “banned” country, you should keep an eye on the news in case there are any changes that affect your travel, though I do not anticipate any in the immediate future. Take care, Jason

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Oliv September 2, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Hi,Jason, my husband filed my i730 at last year November , but this case currently still pending. So, do you think this is normal processing time for uscis Texas center? And about the i730 interview, do you think it will apply to pending cases after October, or new applicant after October? Thank you!

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Jason Dzubow September 3, 2017 at 7:12 am

That seems slow to me – maybe he can call USCIS to ask (the phone number is found at http://www.uscis.gov) or contact the USCIS Ombudsman – a link is at right. My guess is that if the I-730 process continues past October 1, you will receive an interview. But I doubt that will add a whole lot of delay at this point, since you should be one of the first people interviewed, given how long the I-730 has been pending. Take care, Jason

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Asylee September 2, 2017 at 12:49 pm

Hi Jason,

Thanks for the time and effort you put in writing about the struggles of many of us here, it certainly provides relief reading your posts/comments.

I see you’ve mentioned most applications seem to be going slow, however I have a I-485 application (based on grant of asylum) that has been pending for 15 months, I’ve tried all of the possible channels of inquiring about my case (SRs, Congressman, Ombudsman, InfoPass) and I always get the typical response of “pending adjudication” and “actively being reviewed”. I’ve also applied for EAD renewal that is pending for 5 months now. Given your experience with recent applications, do you notice any trends of these extreme delays?

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Jason Dzubow September 3, 2017 at 7:10 am

For years, we have seen some GC cases that are very slow – there is usually some issue in the case, like a fraudulent entry into the US, but not always. Unfortunately, the most difficult part of immigration law is making the government do its job, and it is difficult to fight this bureaucratic problem – especially since you do not even know what the problem is. If you have pursued all avenues and nothing is working, you might consider a mandamus lawsuit. Such a lawsuit is where you ask a federal judge to force the USCIS to do its job. It can be effective, but you would need to talk to a lawyer about that first, to see whether it is a viable option for you. Take care, Jason

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Nana September 2, 2017 at 4:58 am

Hi Jason, my asylum is approved, i need to know:
when i can submit to issue the greencard ?
how long i will wait from submit my request till get it ?

Thank you Jason for your very kind support

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Milly September 2, 2017 at 8:19 am

Congratulations!
I believe you can apply for GC 1 year after your asylum approval, maybe a little earlier.
Please, would you kindly share your timeline and location of asylum office?
The scheduling bulletin seems to be frozen at the moment 🙁

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L.F September 2, 2017 at 11:02 pm

Congratulations!!
Please share timeline and office ?!

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Jason Dzubow September 3, 2017 at 7:04 am

We wait one full year from the approval date before filing for the GC. We used to file after 11 months, but then USCIS rejected an application, and so now we wait the full year. Take care, Jason

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Rayan September 1, 2017 at 10:09 pm
Jason Dzubow September 3, 2017 at 7:01 am

It makes sense that if USCIS moves, it will create a disruption, so we will have to see what happens. I did not know they were moving – so thank you for sharing that, Jason

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Jason Dzubow September 5, 2017 at 6:41 am

I think the speed of the case is not related to how extreme the case is. I do think certain high-profile cases move faster than normal cases. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow September 19, 2017 at 10:22 pm

I agree with that 100%. The system is getting worse and worse because they want you to give up. I hope you will hang in there. Remember, receiving your asylum is the best revenge against this nonsense. Take care, Jason

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Sara September 11, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Hey Tina ? I’m from 3 different countries, Egypt being my country of origin. And I was born and raised in a fourth country lol

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Sara September 11, 2017 at 11:28 pm

Anytime ? And all the best to you, too.

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Jason Dzubow September 13, 2017 at 6:08 am

We used to do option 2 once in a while, but I am not sure whether that will still work. Anyway, let us know what you do. Thank you, Jason

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