Trump Administration Lies About the Economic Impact of Refugees

by Jason Dzubow on September 27, 2017

There’s a Yiddish expression, “A halber emes iz a gantse lign,” which means, “A half-truth is a whole lie.” A recent article from the New York Times demonstrates that the Trump Administration is using half truths in order to justify its plan to reduce refugee admissions to historically low levels for the upcoming fiscal year. From the Times article:

President Trump is taking Simon and Garfunkel’s advice a bit too literally: “Lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie.”

Trump administration officials, under pressure from the White House to provide a rationale for reducing the number of refugees allowed into the United States next year, rejected a study by the Department of Health and Human Services that found that refugees brought in $63 billion more in government revenues over the past decade than they cost.

In other words, political officials suppressed a study from HHS because the results of that study did not support Mr. Trump’s policy goals.

The draft study was completed in July but never publicly released. Instead, it was leaked to the NY Times. The study was meant to look at the costs and benefits of refugee resettlement to our economy. How much do refugees cost us for things like public benefits, education, and law enforcement? How much do refugees contribute through taxes? Are refugees a net gain or a net loss, at least in terms of dollars spent and received?

The 55-page draft study found that refugees “contributed an estimated $269.1 billion in revenues to all levels of government” between 2005 and 2014 through the payment of federal, state and local taxes. Taking into account resettlement and other costs, the report estimates that “the net fiscal impact of refugees was positive over the 10-year period, at $63.0 billion.” When refugees and their family members were counted, the benefits were more modest, but still positive, at $16.9 billion. These results align with another recent study on the economic impact of refugees conducted by two professors at the University of Notre Dame.

The final, three-page report that HHS ultimately submitted includes only money spent by the government on refugees, without including revenue–literally, half the truth (and that’s being generous, since they reduced the size of the report from 55 pages to three). Maybe I can do the same thing on my own taxes–include only my expenses, but leave out revenue. I am not sure how that would go over with the IRS, but I’m guessing not well.

This strategy–of promoting the negative by leaving out the positive–is nothing new for the Trump Administration. Last Spring, the Department of Homeland Security launched the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) office. According to DHS, VOICE will, “Provide quarterly reports studying the effects of the victimization by criminal aliens present in the United States.” So we get to see the negative impact of aliens on the United States, but we hear nothing about the positive contributions made by such people (and of course, the evidence is pretty conclusive that aliens commit crimes at lower rates than native-born Americans).

Not all government employees are on board with the Trump Administration’s anti-refugee program. The most obvious dissenter is the anonymous person who leaked the HHS report to the NY Times. More publicly, the State Department’s Director of Refugee Admissions told an audience at the Heritage Foundation, “We see… that refugees do very, very well, and it’s one of the reasons that we would like to see more long-term studies about refugee success and perhaps failure so that we can really see those areas that we should focus on more…. They’re taking jobs that are otherwise unfilled, and refugees, frankly, do quite well.”

There also seems to be internal disagreement about how many refugees we should admit to the country. For FY 2017, President Obama raised the refugee ceiling from 85,000 to 110,000, but President Trump has proposed reducing refugee admissions to 45,000 for FY 2018, which starts on October 1. Interestingly, officials at the National Security Council, the State Department, and the Department of Defense have lined up to oppose such a precipitous drop, presumably because they recognize the benefits of our refugee program.

By next week, we should know for sure how many refugees President Trump plans to admit in FY 2018. I’m not optimistic about the numbers, but I understand that reducing immigration was one of Mr. Trump’s core promises when he ran for president. What probably bothers me most about the whole process, though, is the blatant dishonesty of the President, who is trying to justify his refugee policy based on half truths and whole lies. An honest discussion might not result in a different outcome in terms of numbers, but it would be far better for our country and our democracy.

{ 80 comments… read them below or add one }

Nana October 15, 2017 at 10:05 pm

Hi jason I have aquestion.I have pending asylum case from Feb 2015 in airlington office i am checking the bulletin it seems like they stuck again in June 2014 since they work in June 2014 actually from June 2017 till now.do you have any news about airlington office ???

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Jason Dzubow October 17, 2017 at 6:14 am

I was there yesterday and I am going there again today, so things are moving. My cases were both filed in June 2014. Take care, Jason

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Ble Ble October 11, 2017 at 10:10 pm

I recently file for asylum, I have receive the acknowledgment receipt but I’m yet to receive a letter for the fingerprint.
Kindly advise me on what to do.

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Jason Dzubow October 12, 2017 at 6:12 am

I do not think this is a major problem; at least they have your case. You can contact the local asylum office and tell them that you did not receive a fingerprint appointment. They should be able to help you. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

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Tom October 11, 2017 at 6:52 pm

Hi Jason! Can I have an hour consultation? Let me know please how much it costs.

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Jason Dzubow October 12, 2017 at 6:07 am

You can email me to arrange that: [email protected]. Take care, Jason

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Mark October 6, 2017 at 2:05 pm

Thanks for being so freely resourceful to people like us Jason’s. My question is, When someone is granted asylum and they have to wait for a year before filing to get their spouse and kids who are derivatives on thier case but are still in the home country. Must they wait to get the green card before filling or they can file as soon as they are granted asylum after interview.

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Jason Dzubow October 8, 2017 at 7:44 am

There is no such waiting period. Once a person is granted asylum, he can file for his spouse and unmarried, minor children immediately (assuming the marriage occurred before asylum was granted). Use form I-730, available at http://www.uscis.gov. It may take 6 months or a year for them to get to the US, but there is no waiting period to file. Also, an asylee must file for his family members within 2 years of winning asylum or he cannot file for them in this way. Once you have a GC, you can also file for your family based on the GC, but that process is slower. Take care, Jason

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john October 11, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Thanks Jason for everything.
I have one question regarding family.
I have filed as single since I didn’t get married, but I have a spouse and can provide evidences.
So can I file for her even if she was not included in I 589 form?
Thanks

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Jason Dzubow October 12, 2017 at 6:03 am

You should talk to a lawyer about this. USCIS will probably accuse you of fraud, and you will need a waiver (a form to ask forgiveness for the fraud). You should go over this with a lawyer to best present the case and hopefully avoid a fraud charge. Take care, Jason

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Kylat4n October 4, 2017 at 10:23 pm

Hello Jason,
Thank you for your valuable resources , may I have question I got my green card through asylum on 02 February 2014 and got married on April 2014.
When I can file citizenship ? Will be 2017 ( 3 years )or 2019 ( 5 years ) ? Thank you so much and appreciate it.

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Kylat4n October 4, 2017 at 10:24 pm

Added I got married to U.S. citizens

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Jason Dzubow October 5, 2017 at 6:27 am

Your GC should have been back-dated one year, so on the card it will say “Lawful Permanent Resident since [date].” You can apply for citizenship 4 years and 9 months after the date on the card (really, 5 years, but you can mail the N-400 up to 3 months early). You can only apply for citizenship in 3 years if you get your GC based on marrying a US citizen and you are still married to that person. Take care, Jason

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Sara Hope October 4, 2017 at 8:16 pm

Hello Jason & Everyone here ,

Does anyone knows the estimate waiting period for Decesion on asylam interview in Chicago office ?

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Sara Hope October 4, 2017 at 8:15 pm

Hello Jason & Everyone here ,

Does anyone knows the estimate waiting period for Decesion on asylam interview ?? And why we see people getting decisions way sooner than other inspire of the fact that there cases were filed around the same time

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Jason Dzubow October 5, 2017 at 6:25 am

How long it takes to get a decision after the interview is not predictable. It depends on the case, the security background check, the interviewing officer, and the supervisor. We have seen people get a decision in 3 days (including the weekend) and we have seen other people waiting for 3+ years (and counting) without a decision. Most people get a decision in a few weeks or months, but certainly not everyone. You can email the asylum office and inquire about your case. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

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Nightman October 4, 2017 at 5:02 pm

Jason

Me and my husband have filed an asylum application. We split and he now threatens me with removing from the asylum case. 1 year for filing my own asylum application has passed, we have EADs already. I consider filing my own application but it looks like 1-year bar may prevent me from doing so. What are the options?

Thank you!

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Jason Dzubow October 5, 2017 at 6:19 am

In this case, I think you can file your own application and the one-year bar will not block you. You will need to explain why you did not file in the first year (you were a dependent on your husband’s application, but now you are getting divorced), but this should excuse the one-year filing requirement. Take care, Jason

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Hattio October 4, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Do you need to register for selective service if you are granted asylum and you are 35 years old?

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Jason Dzubow October 5, 2017 at 6:17 am

I do not know the age cut-off, and 35 may be too old, but if you go to the selective service website, it will tell you who must register. I think as long as you are within the age range, you have to register if you have asylum, but I am not 100% sure about that. Take care, Jason

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kd October 4, 2017 at 7:48 am

Hello Jason ! Thank you for everything for asylee .
As an asylee we are interviewed again for green card ?

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Jason Dzubow October 5, 2017 at 6:11 am

There is a new policy on this, but it seems only dependents will be interviewed for the GC. So if you were the principal applicant, you should not be interviewed, but if your spouse or parent was the principal and you were the dependent, you probably will be interviewed. Take care, Jason

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Dose October 4, 2017 at 3:26 am

Hey Jason,
Quick question- if the case is approved in the court, how long does it take to get the green card? Or do we have to wait for another one year.
Thank you very much, what you have done so far on this blog.

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Jason Dzubow October 4, 2017 at 6:44 am

If you win asylum in court, you can apply for the GC one year later. It usually takes 6 to 9 months after that to get the GC, but sometimes there are delays. Take care, Jason

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TJ October 4, 2017 at 2:01 am

Hi Jason,

What’s the risk of losing an asylum-based Green Card if the country conditions have changed (got better)? Does the risk (if any) increase upon re-entry to the US?

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Jason Dzubow October 4, 2017 at 6:41 am

I do not think you will lose the GC if country conditions improve. That might only happen if you visit the country, and if you do that, I think there is some chance that you will have a problem with USCIS, but I cannot quantify that, as I have not seen any statistics about people losing GCs because they returned to their home country. Take care, Jason

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Prince October 5, 2017 at 2:35 am

I know about someone who was denied re-entry to USA after travelling to his country. He got GC via Asylum.

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Jason Dzubow October 5, 2017 at 6:31 am

I am not surprised, but there are different ways this could happen, and it would depend on what happened at the airport – DHS may have wanted to detain him and they gave him the option to just cancel the GC and leave. Normally, if such a person arrives in the US, he should at least have the option to present his case before an immigration judge, but he might have to do that while detained. Take care, Jason

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Tami October 3, 2017 at 12:32 pm

Jason
please advice
i have a pending asylum case, my husband was unable to renew his B2 visa and you know why!!
I am thinking of leaving the State and head to Canada where i can see my husband and file for asylum there my husband have a visitor visa there, unfortunately my passport has expired last year, and renewing it is something close to impassable
tired so many times to expedite my case but no luck at all.
stuck in a very bad situation here, don’t know what to do or how to think. can’t stay here any longer without my husband
please lease advice

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Zac October 3, 2017 at 7:16 pm

How you are planning to go to Canada? If you are planning to go there and apply for asylum on the border based on safe third country agreement, your husband should have legal status in Canada to be qualified and I mean by legal status is (Canadian citizen, Permanent resident,or refugee), check this link for the agreement,
https://www.freedomhousedetroit.org/index.php/for-refugees
Another way is to inter Canada illegally and apply for Asylum there but there is a risk if you get caught while you are trying to crossthe border, you will be send back to US where you will facing detention if you are out of status, another thing if your husband apply for asylum in Canada and get approval, he could sponsor you to come to Canada and live with him , hope this help
Good luck

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Jason Dzubow October 4, 2017 at 6:16 am

If you choose to go to Canada, talk to a lawyer there first about making the trip, as you could be rejected simply because you had an asylum case in the US. It sounds like you already tried, but I wrote about expediting cases in a post on March 30, 2017 – maybe that would help. Take care, Jason

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Omar October 3, 2017 at 2:03 am

Hi Jason,
Thanks for your support. It has been 60 days for a initial EAD (pending asylum). It seems that,for a initial EAD, waiting time is 3-4 months nowadays.
1. Is there anyway to expedite this process?
2. what is total least days for eligibility to rise a SR?
3. Can I contact to congressman to help on this?

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Jason Dzubow October 3, 2017 at 6:23 am

1 – You can contact USCIS and ask to expedite, and if you have a reason, you can tell them or give them evidence. I doubt it will work, but there is no harm in trying. 2 – I do not understand this question. 3 – You can, but generally, they do not do anything that is effective. Take care, Jason

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Asylee October 3, 2017 at 9:19 pm

Can I ask for expediation before the 180 days ?

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Jason Dzubow October 4, 2017 at 6:34 am

Ask to expedite your asylum case? Yes – you can ask anytime after you receive the receipt. Take care, Jason

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Asylee October 4, 2017 at 12:11 pm

No ask to expediate my initial EAD

Art October 2, 2017 at 6:27 pm

Hello

Got some good news on my intial EAD , Status changed to Card being Produced. Heres my timeline

Office:Texas Service centre
RD: 19 July 2017
Made a first service request : 22 August 2017 ( received response that I would get a decision in 30 days.
Reqest for additional information: 05 September
Response to RFE received : 18 September
Second SR : 21 September (they respond and said Application in line for review and adjudication)

Called in today and was told to wait 60 days for a response 😩 but a couple hours later status changed to card being produced !!

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Jason Dzubow October 3, 2017 at 6:06 am

Thank you for sharing – hopefully you will have the card in your hand in a few weeks (or sooner). Take care, Jason

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Asylee October 3, 2017 at 9:12 pm

What did they ask for ?

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Art October 3, 2017 at 9:43 pm

Hi Asylee

They asked for photos (even though I had sent some with application) and a copy of the data page on my passport.

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Adam October 2, 2017 at 10:59 am

Do you know that Chicago asylum office has a short notice list?

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Jason Dzubow October 2, 2017 at 5:40 pm

I think it does not, but I am not sure. You can email them and ask. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

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Besho October 6, 2017 at 9:05 am

Hi Adam,
Could you tell me about average period time till get interview in chicago office.

thanks

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Jason Dzubow October 8, 2017 at 7:35 am

You might want to check the Asylum Office Scheduling Bulletin – a link is at right. Take care, Jason

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Ali October 1, 2017 at 11:37 am

Hi Jason,

I first would like to thank you for your great website that gives us hope in these times of hardship. As you know Trump administration announced a new travel restrictions on 8 new countries indefinitely. I am from one of those affected countries (Iran) and my asylum case has been ongoing from Jun 2014. I was reading in the CNN article below that entry as immigrants and non immigrants will be suspended from 18th OCT. I was wondering would that affect my case and people from Iran already here in any way? Or that will only be affect people of Iran from entering US from OCT 18? I would appreciate your reply. Thank you so much

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/24/politics/trump-travel-restrictions/index.html

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Jason Dzubow October 1, 2017 at 10:22 pm

I do not know – After the old travel bans were litigated and modified, the end result was that they had no effect on asylum seekers who are already in the US. Maybe that will be the case with the new order as well. I will try to review it and write something about it soon. Take care, Jason

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Ali October 2, 2017 at 3:15 pm

Thank you Jason. You are the light for us in this darkness.

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El October 1, 2017 at 7:58 am

Hello Jason, thank you so much for helping us,
I got a letter regarding expediting my file and it says that they will Contact me with an interview date as one becomes available. Do you have any idea how long should I wait?? The office is in Chicago. And how would they contact me? Phone? Mail??
Thank you so much.

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Jason Dzubow October 1, 2017 at 10:20 pm

Typically, they contact by mail, but sometimes we are contacted by phone. I do not know how long it takes. When we get a letter like that in the Virginia office, it usually takes a month or two (or three). Take care, Jason

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El October 1, 2017 at 10:33 pm

You are an awesome person, God bless you.

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zain September 30, 2017 at 11:41 pm

Hi Jason I have a question. Does it help an asylum applicant if their whole family are american citizens?

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Jason Dzubow October 1, 2017 at 10:15 pm

Generally, I do not think it helps. However, if they got citizenship based on asylum or refugee status, that might help. Also, depending on the nature of your case it may help (for example, if you are being targeted in your country because you are too “Americanized). Take care, Jason

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Zac October 3, 2017 at 7:22 pm

Hi Jason
There is another point related to this, what if you don’t have any family member left in you home country? do you think this will help your Asylum case, many thanks

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Jason Dzubow October 4, 2017 at 6:32 am

It might, depending on the country and the facts of the case, but it is difficult to say in general whether that would help or not. Take care, Jason

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dana September 30, 2017 at 11:27 pm

Hello Jason, do you have any idea why the miami office is so slow? It seems to be slower than other offices. And is the miami office a tough office or not? Thank you so much for your useful posts.

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rsv October 1, 2017 at 6:01 pm

I have been wondering about the same thing. My interview has been pending since sep13.

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Jason Dzubow October 1, 2017 at 10:11 pm

Work loads change and get shifted around, so maybe that is related to why Miami is slow, but I have no specific info on that office. As for how tough Miami is, I did a post about that on February 25, 2016 – it is a bit dated, but maybe it will help. Take care, Jason

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Obrian September 30, 2017 at 8:28 pm

Hey Jason,
I have no question at this time but reading through your articles and looking forward to reading more every time plus the answers you provide to the numerous questions being asked by people like me, I just want to appreciate you from the bottom of my heart. This is not business. You are indeed a man with a kind and compassionate heart. I wish you all the best.

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Tina October 1, 2017 at 8:37 pm

👍👍

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Jason Dzubow October 1, 2017 at 10:08 pm

Thank you, Jason

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Lala September 30, 2017 at 11:15 am

Hello Jason, thank you sooo much for these informative articles! I have a question about the citizenship continues residence requirement for asylum-based LPRs. After you get your GC, the rule is to physically remain in the U.S for 30 months out of the 5 years(half of the 5 years). Since that I can apply for citizenship after I get my GC with 4 years, do I still need to satisfy the 30 months requirement? Or would it be 24 months after I get my GC (half of the 4 years)? Or a year and a half after I get my GC as the year I spent as an asylee before I got my GC is counted towards the 5-year requirement?
Thank you so much 🙂

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Jason Dzubow October 1, 2017 at 9:49 pm

Your GC was back-dated one year, so if you got it on 01/01/2013, it should say 01/01/2012. I think you would need to show you were physically in the US for 50% of the time from the back-dated date (in this example, 01/01/2012). I am not 100% sure about this, as I have not dealt with that issue, but I know of no other rule, and so I think that is what would be required. You may want to hire a lawyer to research this for you, if it makes a difference in your case. Take care, Jason

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Lala October 2, 2017 at 8:46 pm

Make sense! thanks a lot Jason 🙂

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Tekin September 29, 2017 at 7:09 pm

Jason,

Do you have any idea wait time for Judge Burman? My MCH will be in December.

Thank you.

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Jason Dzubow October 1, 2017 at 8:26 am

I think he is scheduling cases with other judges, and these are usually 1+ years away, but since we do not even know which judge it will be, we cannot have a lot of confidence that the date will be changed. I currently have cases scheduled with Judge Berman into 2020. Take care, Jason

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Tekin October 3, 2017 at 7:45 am

When or how will we know if Judge Berman schedule my case to other judges? Do judges schedule case base on country of origin or just randomly schedule?

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Jason Dzubow October 4, 2017 at 6:13 am

Cases are not scheduled based on country. They are scheduled based on the Judge’s availability to hear them on his calendar, and you will only find out about when and what judge you get at the Master Calendar Hearing. Take care, Jason

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Daniel September 29, 2017 at 1:56 pm

Is this study looking only at literal refugees admitted under INA 207, or does it also include asylees and/or asylum applicants?

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Jason Dzubow October 1, 2017 at 8:14 am

There is a link to the study in the above article, so you can double check, but if I remember correctly, I believe it does not include asylees. In general, my guess is that asylees contribute more to the economy than refugees, since they come her with more and so are able to get settled more quickly. Take care, Jason

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YC September 29, 2017 at 12:53 am

Hi Jason, thank you for always helping people. My spouse and I have had EAD for a few months, but even with qualifications, finding a job is not easy as we do not have permanent housing. It is a huge loop in the system: to have a job you must have a house, to rent a house you must have a job, to get medical or food help you must stay in the county you wish to apply in, which means you must have a house. Are there any leads on housing for people like us? If anyone care to share it would be great too.

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Jason Dzubow September 29, 2017 at 6:18 am

I do not know about that, but you might try searching on Google for “Catholic Charities” + the name of your city. They may be able to assist with questions like yours, and they help everyone; you do not have to be Catholic. Take care, Jason

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James September 28, 2017 at 5:35 pm

I applied for renewal of my EAD card 5 months ago but still not received.even my card expired. 3 months ago Asylum office sent order to transfer my case to immigration court and hearing is in next month.My questipn is that it will effect my EAD renewal?or due to slow process i am late?

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Jason Dzubow September 29, 2017 at 6:13 am

EAD renewals are slow for most people. Sending the case to court should not affect the EAD process. You can contact USCIS or make an appointment to go in person to inquire about your case. You can find their phone number or make an appointment at http://www.uscis.gov. Take care, Jason

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Jim September 28, 2017 at 4:41 pm

Hello Jason, Thanks for your help for refugees and asylums. We do really appreciate it. I have one question. Do you have any idea about the waiting time from Master Hearing to individual Hearing for Judge Snow? 1 year or 2 years or even longer? My master hearing would be 1 year later and i want to know how long would i waiting for my individual hearing. Thank you.

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Jason Dzubow September 29, 2017 at 6:08 am

Judge Snow is scheduling cases for 2020, but he is also scheduling some cases with other judges (we do not know which judges). Earlier this week, he scheduled one of our clients for an individual in August 2018, but with a different (unnamed) judge. Take care, Jason

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Jim September 29, 2017 at 4:47 pm

Thanks for reply. Hopefully your client has a good Judge.

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Chibababa September 27, 2017 at 10:06 pm

Hi Jason. I went to my interview for my asylum case in July and I still have not received a decision. My fiancé and I are planning to get married next month. She is an American citizen. Please if you can, please let me know how that process will go.

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Jason Dzubow September 28, 2017 at 6:17 am

You can contact the Asylum Office to inquire about your case. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. She can file for you once you are married (assuming you are eligible), and you can get the GC through her. One advantage is that you will be able to become a US citizen more quickly if you get your papers through marriage. On the other hand, given that the two applications might interfere with each other, you might want to wait until you get a decision in the asylum case, but if you think the asylum case will be denied, you might want to start the marriage case as soon as you can. I recommend you talk to a lawyer to go over the options, as it really depends on the specifics of your case. Take care, Jason

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Chibababa September 28, 2017 at 7:28 am

Thanks Jason. I filed on time within 6 months of my arrival. I have no crime, I’m currently on an EAD which I’m yet to receive but has been approved after 4.5 months. So will I be standing before a judge or will I be going to the USCIS office to prove that it’s a bonafide marriage?

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Jason Dzubow September 28, 2017 at 5:39 pm

Unless the case is already in court, you present the marriage case to USCIS. Take care, Jason

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