The Attorney General’s Jaundiced–and Inaccurate–View of Asylum

by Jason Dzubow on October 17, 2017

In a speech last week to the Executive Office for Immigration Review (the office that administers the nation’s immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals), Attorney General and living Confederate Civil War monument, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, set out his views on the asylum system, asylum seekers, and immigration attorneys.

Jeff Sessions speaks to an audience at the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

Sad to say, Mr. Sessions described the asylum system in largely negative terms, and said not a word about the benefits that our country derives from offering asylum.

While he views our asylum policy as “generous,” and designed to “protect those who, through no fault of their own, cannot co-exist in their home country no matter where they go because of persecution based on fundamental things like their religion or nationality,” Mr. Sessions feels that our generosity is being “abused” and that “smart attorneys have exploited loopholes in the law, court rulings, and lack of resources to substantially undermine the intent of Congress.”

Mr. Sessions also lambasts “dirty immigration lawyers who are encouraging their otherwise unlawfully present clients to make false claims of asylum providing them with the magic words needed to trigger the credible fear process.”

Indeed, Mr. Sessions believes that our asylum system is “subject to rampant abuse and fraud.” Because the system is “overloaded with fake claims, it cannot deal effectively with just claims.”

First, it’s quite sad that our nation’s chief law enforcement officer would have such a jaundiced view of asylum. The idea that asylum is merely a generous benefit we offer to refugees, and that we receive nothing in return, is simply false. I’ve written about this point before, but it bears repeating. Asylum was created during the Cold War as a tool against the Soviet Union. We offered refuge to people fleeing Communism, and each person who defected to the West served as a testament to our system’s superiority over our adversary.

Now that the Cold War has ended, asylum still serves our strategic interests. It demonstrates our commitment to those who support and work for the values we believe in. It is tangible evidence that America stands with our friends. It gives our allies confidence that we will not let them down when times become tough. It shows that our foundational principles–free speech, religious liberty, equality, rule of law–are not empty words, but are ideals we actually stand behind.

And of course, there are the asylees themselves, who contribute to our country with their energy, enthusiasm, and patriotism, often born of their experience living in places that are not safe, and that are not free.

None of this came up during Mr. Sessions’s talk. Perhaps he does not know how our nation has benefited from the asylum system. Or maybe he doesn’t care. Or–what I suspect–he views asylum seekers as a threat to our security and a challenge to our country’s (Christian and Caucasian) culture.

The shame of it is that Mr. Sessions is demonstrably wrong on several points, and so possibly he reached his conclusions about asylum based on incorrect information.

The most obvious error is his claims that “dirty immigration lawyers… are encouraging their otherwise unlawfully present clients to make false claims of asylum providing them with the magic words needed to trigger the credible fear process.” Aliens who are “unlawfully present” in the U.S. are not subject to the credible fear process. That process is generally reserved for aliens arriving at the border who ask for asylum. Such applicants undergo a credible fear interview, which is an initial evaluation of eligibility for asylum. While this may be a technical point, Mr. Sessions raised the issue in a talk to EOIR, and so his audience presumably understands how the system works. That Mr. Sessions would make such a basic mistake in a speech to people who know better, demonstrates his ignorance of the subject matter (or at least the ignorance of his speech writers), and casts doubt on his over-all understanding of the asylum system.

Mr. Sessions also says that our asylum system is “overloaded with fake claims.” But how does he know this? And what exactly is a fake claim? In recent years, something like 40 to 50% of asylum cases have been granted. Are all those adjudicators being fooled? And what about denied cases? Are they all worthy of denial? There is, of course, anecdotal evidence of fraud—and in his talk, Mr. Sessions cites a few examples of “dirty” attorneys and applicants. But a few anecdotes does not compel a conclusion that the entire system is “subject to rampant abuse and fraud.” I can point to anecdotes as well. I’ve seen cases granted that I suspected were false, but I’ve also seen cases denied that were pretty clearly grant-worthy. While I do think we need to remain vigilant for fraud, I have not seen evidence to support the type of wide-spread fraud referenced by the Attorney General.

Finally, Mr. Sessions opines that “smart attorneys have exploited loopholes in the law, court rulings, and lack of resources to substantially undermine the intent of Congress.” So court rulings undermine the intent of Congress? Any attorney who makes such a statement casts doubt on that lawyer’s competence and devotion to the rule of law, but when the Attorney General says it, we have real cause for concern. Thousands of federal court rulings—including from the U.S. Supreme Court—have interpreted our nation’s immigration laws (and all our other laws too). That is what courts do, and that is how the intent of Congress is interpreted and implemented in real-world situations. Attorneys who rely on court decisions are not “exploit[ing] loopholes in the law,” we are following the law.

These are all pretty basic points, and it strikes me that when it comes to asylum, Mr. Sessions doesn’t get it. He seems not to understand the role of Congress, the courts, and lawyers in the asylum process. And he certainly doesn’t understand the benefits our country receives from the asylum system.

I’ve often said that President Trump’s maliciousness is tempered by his incompetence. With Attorney General Sessions, it is the opposite: His maliciousness is exacerbated by his incompetence. And I fear that asylum seekers–and our country’s devotion to the rule of law–will suffer because of it.

 

{ 105 comments… read them below or add one }

Dorius October 31, 2017 at 3:18 pm

Hello Mr. Jason. In october 2013 i applied for an asylium in the state of Florida and we are now almost in 2018 and i was never invited for the interview. What is the best think to do now? To get a lawyer that will help me to find a way to solve the problem or just to wait in patience for the interview??? I am just afraid that i will never be invited for the asylium interview .

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Jason Dzubow October 31, 2017 at 4:51 pm

Check the Asylum Office Scheduling Bulletin for your asylum office (I think it is Miami). It will tell you who is being interviewed now. If they passed your date, you can contact them to inquire. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

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ishan October 27, 2017 at 6:07 pm

Thank you for replying Jason, my passport is expired and secondly if I go to Kuwait with my passport, after returning will they detain me and will a lawyer could help me in that situation. If you would be my lawyer how much you could interfere Jason?
Thank you

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Jason Dzubow October 29, 2017 at 1:03 pm

If you were detained, the lawyer can assist, but the lawyer could probably not prevent you from being detained (and I think it is very unlikely that you would be detained). If you were detained and USCIS tried to revoke your asylum, I could assist with that, but if you already have a lawyer, it probably makes sense to use the person who is more familiar with your case. Take care, Jason

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Anna October 27, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Hello Jason!
Thank you for everything you did for us. You are the best.
I start my process in September 2014. Dec., 5 2016 I had an interview. My interview was very fast. Only 1 hour and 15 min. My officer asked about my biographic and my husband a lot (he is in Ukraine and i m from Ukraine too). About my situation he asked only about 30 min. It was not interesting for him)) He said me that had no time and i need answer yes or no… When i try made my answer more deep he always interrupted me. By the way he didn’t included other translate who always on the phone. I was really confuse but what could to did?)) And i was waiting for my result during 9 month. I wrote to the office 23 times, visited office 3 times and sent 3 letters to senator. And Sep, 5 i received noted they they need my arguments because they don t trust me. It was 5 pages why they don t trust me. Only 20% of all this letter was true and correct)). The officer said that when he asked me about everything I didn t answer)) and other thing that I was quiet and stupid)))) during all interview. My layer was in the shock because of so many lie about my behavior on the interwie. We sent all arguments to the asylum office and i m waiting for result. How many time officers lye about our interview, guys?))) And not everybody received so detailed solution i had had. So it s a big big problem. They don t listen us, they don t want understand our situation and they play with our life!!!

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Meghan October 26, 2017 at 2:57 pm

I am on pending asylum. No interview yet. I have a kid age 5. I want to apply for health insurance. Is it necessary to get ead for my kid to show legal status or can i show letter from uscis that we gor i initial receiot upon asylum application submit??

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Jason Dzubow October 26, 2017 at 5:52 pm

I do not know about this – you would have to ask the health insurance company what they need. The EAD for your child is free the first time you apply based on asylum pending, so maybe you want to get it, just to have it in case you need it for insurance or anything else. Take care, Jason

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solxp October 25, 2017 at 5:13 am

Hi Jason,

USCIS has accepted my EAD renewal in the 2nd week of april but still it didn’t change status other than “Case received” it has been more than 6 months with out any progress I have created case twice and called once but the answer is wait 60 days. what shall I do my employer is warning me that they have to terminate me in january.

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Jason Dzubow October 25, 2017 at 6:42 am

Unfortunately, these renewals are taking much longer than they used to. Most people are getting the new card in 5 or 6 months, so hopefully you will have it soon. In the mean time, you can make an Info Pass appointment ay http://www.uscis.gov and go in person to talk to them – sometimes that is more effective than calling. Also, you can contact the USCIS Ombudsman office – a link is at right. Take care, Jason

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Ricky October 25, 2017 at 4:57 am

Dear Jason,
I have a pending asylum case. I applied for asylum during May 2016 from Los Angeles. My wife and kids are here with me. But tthe problem is my Dad passed away few months ago and my mom is also too sick. She wants to see me. Do you think that the Expedite would’ve been a good idea for me to see my mom for last time.
Thanks again

Ricky

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Jason Dzubow October 25, 2017 at 6:40 am

You can try to expedite for that reason, as long as you plan to meet her in a third country, but the expedite process is not very fast. You might also try to get Advance Parole to travel and see her in a third country. I wrote about that on September 11, 2017 – maybe that article would help you. Take care, Jason

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Lawand October 24, 2017 at 7:15 pm

Hello dear jason
I withdrew my asylum case before 5 month ago in immigration office ,they accepted my request for withdrawing my case ,so before 1 month ago I received a letter of acceptance for this purpose,now i am living in my hometown ,can i apply for a new visitor visa ? What are these challenging i may face in getting this visa
Yours sincerely

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Jason Dzubow October 25, 2017 at 6:20 am

You can apply. Whether they will give it to you, I do not know. If they think you plan to seek asylum again or otherwise remain in the US after your visa expires, they will deny the application, so you need evidence to demonstrate that you will return home at the end of your visit to the US. Take care, Jason

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hala October 24, 2017 at 12:38 pm

hello . i wanna apply for asylum but i am confuse if i apply for my 12 year son and 9 year daughter. i apply only myself. fear is with my self if they intervew my kid and they dont know anything and they tell anything wrong . what the officer do , do they take kids serious. do u have any example of this kind of case . kindly hepl me eplease.

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Jason Dzubow October 24, 2017 at 5:36 pm

Normally, if the adult is here with the children, the adult is the principal applicants and the children are dependents on the adult’s case. That way, they can all get work permits when the time comes, and if the adult wins asylum, the children get asylum also. The instructions to form I-589 (available at http://www.uscis.gov) explain how to include children as dependents. Take care, Jason

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hala October 26, 2017 at 11:22 am

thank you brother. i want know what type of question they ask kids in interview. do they reject you case on the base of difference between your statement and what your kids say.

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Jason Dzubow October 26, 2017 at 5:41 pm

Generally, they only ask children the “bar” questions, such as, “Are you a criminal?” “Are you a terrorist?” etc. Of course, it depends on the case and the age of the child, but that has been my experience. Take care, Jason

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Azaz A October 24, 2017 at 4:30 am

Good Morning
Thanks Mr. Dzubow for providing such useful information. I was granted asylum five years ago and when I applied to adjust my asylee status to PR my application for the adjustment was put on hold because of TRIG. My question is to know if I may be able to use Form I-601 (Application for Waiver Grounds of Inadmissibility). I am little confused as the information provided is not clear for me. I would appreciate your advise on this matter.
Thanks in advance for your assistance

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Jason Dzubow October 24, 2017 at 6:43 am

I do not think the I-601 can be used to waive a TRIG case. You should talk to a lawyer about the specifics of the situation. Also, if you are interested in talking to a journalist, someone contacted me yesterday about TRIG cases – if you want to talk to her (maybe anonymously), you can email me at jdzubow@dzubowlaw.commailto:jdzubow@dzubowlaw.com and I will put you in touch. Bringing light to this problem may help “the system” (or maybe not). Thank you, Jason

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Ali October 23, 2017 at 9:41 pm

Hi Jason
First of all, thank you for your time and support for asylees.
I highly appreciate if you answer some of my questions.
I applied for asylum in January 2016 in New York but I didn’t add my three children and spouse in my case as their decision was pending for E2 visa. which is denied now and they are under no status currently and crossed the one-year deadline.my questions are:
1- can I add them in my case now?
2- if they are added would they be interviewed as well?
3-if I don’t add them in my case then can I get their Tax ID to
get certain rebates on my tax payment? I have heard it’s
not a good idea to get rebates and aids in case of asylum.
Is it true?
4- my spouse is undocumented right now and wants to get
the tax id to get the drivers license from some other state.
is it a good idea and does it effect my asylum case in any
way
kindly reply in detail with your ease. Thanks a lot

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Jason Dzubow October 24, 2017 at 6:30 am

1 – You can add them, as along as they are in the US. Contact the asylum office for instructions about how to do it. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. 2 – Yes, but usually it is a very short interview for dependents. 3 – I do not know. 4 – I do not know about that, as I do not know your case. I doubt it would affect your case, but if it causes the asylum office to think you are lying about your address, that might cause them not to believe other aspects of your case. Take care, Jason

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Danyah October 23, 2017 at 2:31 pm

Hello Jason

I am writing this to you in the hopes that you would give me sound advice regarding my desperate situation.

I am an Ethiopian citizen currently living in Ethiopia. Ì was recently in Kenya and I was barred from leaving Kenya. The reason why I wasn’t allowed to leave the country wasn’t because I committed a crime or had done something illegal. It was simply because my family doesn’t want me to leave them and be my own person. There are also a few other reasons why they didn’t want me to leave relating to politics but I’d rather not go into it now as I don’t have credible evidence to back it up.

I have now left Kenya after my family had the stop order lifted and I am in Ethiopia under their constant supervision 24/7. It might sound silly as it is not a case related to gender, ethnicity, religion etc And I have a feeling you have never had a case like this . Nevertheless, regardless of whether it sounds silly or not, my right to freedom of movement has been violated. I am not considered as an autonomous person who has the right to self determination. Ì am basically a prisoner who can’t leave the country. If I attempt to leave again, I know I would face the same problem. I have considered visiting some embassy here and seeking asylum but from what I have read my case doesn’t seem to qualify me. Ì do have political reasons like I have mentioned above but have no credible evidence.

What do you suggest I do? I am very desperate and I am willing to go to any country willing to accept me outside of Africa. Beggars can’t be choosers. I need to leave quick for my safety and mental health. Ì wish I was in the USA so I could use your services. Please help me and tell me what I can do to get out of this depressing, miserable and seemingly hopeless situation. Thank you in advance.

Regards

Ps. Ì have posted this question on your other article. Just wanted to let you know it is not a spam post. Thanks again!

Reply

Jason Dzubow October 23, 2017 at 5:50 pm

I do not understand your situation well enough to advise you. If you can get to another country, you may be able to ask asylum there, and you may have a case (sometimes, family persecution can be a basis for asylum), but this would depend on the laws of the country where you go. The best bet is to talk to a lawyer in the country where you want to go and see whether your case might qualify you for protection there. Take care, Jason

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Danyah October 24, 2017 at 3:20 pm

I didn’t know family persecution can be a basis for asylum. Thank you for your assistance and I will try to follow your advice.

Thank you again and keep it up with your blog.

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Scopa October 24, 2017 at 8:13 pm

Dear Danyah,
This is common in some African culture. As kids have no option but to follow the order of their families. My advice to you is sit back think twice before leaving your country. Your claim might not be a base for asylum in US. Anyway, if your families are abusive just report to a police and get some freedom.Then you can think about living the country.

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Danyah November 2, 2017 at 4:07 pm

Thank you for the advice Scopa but unfortunately the police here can not help me. If I can leave the country, then I will try to get asylum in the country Ì have arrived. That seems the only option Ì have to gain freedom.

Doobsie October 23, 2017 at 5:30 am

Hi Jason,
My question relates to a statement which you made earlier:
“If Congress wants to change that – or to change the procedure for seeking asylum at the border (for example, to require everyone at the border to remain detained for the duration of their cases), they can do that….”
My questions: Which asylum applicants are detained, and which ones are not detained? What do the authorities do with the ‘undetained’ applicants?

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Jason Dzubow October 23, 2017 at 6:27 am

People who arrive at the border and pass a credible fear interview can be released on a bond or on their own recognizance (meaning, they don’t have to pay a money bond) and then they have to come to court for their case. Sometimes, they get an ankle bracelet. How the government decides who to release, I do not know. I suspect it depends on bed space in jail, and of course on the government evaluation of whether the person is a flight risk or a danger to the community. Take care, Jason

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Mina October 22, 2017 at 4:56 pm

Hello,
Is a new office for asylum opened in Louisiane ?
and if is it right , which area this office services , and do you have any idea about timeline of this office?
thanks

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Jason Dzubow October 23, 2017 at 6:21 am

There is an office in New Orleans – I think it is a sub-office of Houston. I do not know exactly which areas it covers, but you can see its timeline if you check the link at right called Asylum Office Scheduling Bulletin. Take care, Jason

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Mego October 22, 2017 at 4:46 pm

Hi Jason,
my friends told me that the San Francisco office would be slower in the coming period as the them lawyers told them that complaints were filed against the San Francisco office because they were faster than other offices. i can’t understand that but they told me lawyers said that, is it right ?

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Jason Dzubow October 23, 2017 at 6:18 am

I have not heard that before, and I kind-of doubt that this is true, but I do not know. Take care, Jason

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Malcik October 22, 2017 at 1:44 pm

Hi Jason,
Thank you for your very helpful blog.
I applied for asylum back in August 2015 and supposed to be assigned to the NYC office (I live in Brooklyn)
As per the asylum schedule calendar, they started to interview people from September 2015.
Should I be worried?

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Jason Dzubow October 23, 2017 at 6:15 am

I don’t think you should be worried, but if they passed your date, you should contact them and let them know. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

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Belachew Girma October 22, 2017 at 12:15 am

I have applied for Asylum 3 weeks ago in Arlington office and just received biometrics appointment on an exact date and time unlike the normal 14 days duration. Also the notice of appointment form different than the normal asylum notice of appointment.

Is this a new change?

Thanks Jason for this great site full of resources.

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Jason Dzubow October 22, 2017 at 10:40 am

I think it is not all that new – I think for the last few months, people have been receiving a specific date and time for the biometrics. I have not noticed a difference with the notice of appointment – I am not sure what you mean by that. Take care, Jason

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L.F October 21, 2017 at 8:25 pm

Hi !
I just wanted to share the timeline of one friend of mine :
New York Office, applied in April 14 2015 , interview scheduled for November 8 2017.
He told me today since I’m waiting too..
Sara you be ready now, probably December
Take care everybody..

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Jason Dzubow October 22, 2017 at 10:39 am

Thank you for sharing this, Jason

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Rsv October 24, 2017 at 8:55 pm

I think she has gotten the interview notice already and has been busy preparing probably that’s why we are not hearing back from her. Let her take her time and we wish her a very very good luck and we hope to hear back good news from her hopefully soon.

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L.F October 24, 2017 at 10:04 pm

Let’s hope she gonna get good news
I wish good luck to everyone…when i have news I’m goona post here
Take care

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Jimi October 21, 2017 at 4:57 pm

Hi Jason,
I applied for EAD renewal USCIS send me recipet for that EAD and extend my EAD for 6 months. I have lost receipt, how would I get the copy of receipt. Thanks

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Jason Dzubow October 22, 2017 at 10:36 am

You can get proof online – if you have your check that you paid to renew the EAD, and can get a copy from the bank, normally, your receipt number is there, and you can check on-line at http://www.uscis.gov. I did a posting on January 25, 2017 and that has links to the rules about the automatic extension. If you need to get a new hard copy of the receipt, I am not sure how best to do that. Maybe you can call USCIS and ask, or make an Info Pass appointment to ask. You can find the phone number or make an appointment at http://www.uscis.gov. Take care, Jason

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Greg October 21, 2017 at 1:17 pm

I had the same problem. Installing the newest version of Acrobat Reader helped but saving the file with another pdf editor caused the problem again, even for Acrobat Reader.

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Nancy October 20, 2017 at 5:12 pm

Jason, I applied in 2014 for asylum after coming in US in J1 visa. I was interviewed 7 months ago and has no reply to date. i included my children who were below 21 at the time but 3 are now above 21. I am is married to a US citizen and now it is 5 years of marriage. My spouse filed i130 for all of us and they were approved. My question is, since my children are over 21,if they file for j2 waiver, can they adjust to GC? When we got married 2 of the kids were below 18 and one was over 18. Also I was a victim of crime and has filed for a U-visa . I have a police report and is going through counselling. How does this affect my asylum case ?

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Jason Dzubow October 22, 2017 at 9:28 am

In terms of asylum, if your children were under 21 when you filed, they remain part of your case and if you are granted, they will be too. If you are married to a US citizen, you may be eligible for a GC; I am not sure about the children – talk to a lawyer about that. The fact that you are a victim of a crime should not affect either the asylum or GC/marriage case. Take care, Jason

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Therese October 20, 2017 at 3:26 pm

Hi Jason,

I live in OK. Does it mean I’ll be interviewed in OK Asylum Office, or in Houston? I notice that my asylum receipt number starts with ZHN. Does it mean it was filed under the jurisdiction of Houston? (I had a lawyer file it). Also, I’ve been away from home for 10 years but just filed for asylum last September. Do you think i have any good reason to expedite my case?
Thanks for your reply!

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Therese October 20, 2017 at 3:30 pm

I meant Sept 2016 was when i filed for asylum. Thanks.

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Jason Dzubow October 20, 2017 at 5:06 pm

I think OK asylum cases are interviewed in Texas. As far as I know, ZHN means the Houston asylum office (all the abbreviations start with Z). Whether you have a good basis to expedite or not, I do not know. I wrote a post about that on March 30, 2017 – maybe that would help. Take care, Jason

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Adevayor October 20, 2017 at 12:12 pm

I applied for asylum 4 years ago, and it looks like that i still need to wait another 2 years. I married a girl that came to US on a tourist B2 visa, but visa will be expired in 4 months. My question is, if i marry her, сan i add her to my asylum petition so she can legally stay with me? I heard that i need to file new I589, should i file and send just marriage page, or should i file I589 from beginning?
Thanks!

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Jason Dzubow October 20, 2017 at 2:32 pm

You can add her, and once she is added, she can apply for the EAD on the same schedule as you (meaning, if you have your EAD, she can apply immediately). You can email the local asylum office and ask how to add her. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. An alternative might be for her to file her own asylum case, if she also has a fear of persecution in her country. Take care, Jason

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Riya October 20, 2017 at 10:24 am

Jason thank you for all the information you provide. I have a question:
I have an asylum pending in Boston since 2014 and I got married 6 months ago. Can I add my husband to my application before the interview so he can apply for an EAD through my asylum application? Please let me know.

Thanks

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Jason Dzubow October 20, 2017 at 2:30 pm

You can, and once he is added, he can apply for the EAD on the same schedule as you (meaning, if you have your EAD, he can apply immediately). You can email the local asylum office and ask how to add him. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

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Tekin October 20, 2017 at 6:57 am

Jason,

My friend filed his EAD for the first time on August 24th. After a month one of his kid’s EAD arrived accidentally fast but he could not check rest of the family member’s receipt number. When he checks online it says “invalid receipt number”. It seems like very weird situation, he submitted e-request but there is no news yet. We don’t understand why it says ” Invalid receipt number”.

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Jason Dzubow October 20, 2017 at 2:24 pm

Maybe something is wrong with the application. He can find the phone number for USCIS or make an appointment at http://www.uscis.gov. He can call or go in person to ask about the status of the case. But in general, most EADs are taking 4 or 5 months or more. Take care, Jason

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Asylee October 23, 2017 at 6:11 pm

I have the same issue , I can’t check the application status ! And when I called he just told me to wait ! I have not received my receipt in the mail ! I got the receipt number through email& text ! What can I do more ?

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Jason Dzubow October 24, 2017 at 6:26 am

Make sure your address is correct – maybe the paper receipt went to the wrong address. If all is ok, I am not sure what else you can do but wait – it is taking 4, 5 or more months for an EAD renewal. Take care, Jason

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Tekin October 27, 2017 at 12:39 pm

Jason,

My friend received his work permit after 45 days of the application from Nebraska. It is a miracle even can’t check the status and invalid receipt number.

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Adam October 20, 2017 at 1:34 am

Dear Jason,

I am filling to renew my work authorization card next week. I just want to confirm with you, I live in NH state to which center I suppose to send my application and documents? I’m confusing between Texan or Vermont.

Thank you for your help

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Jason Dzubow October 20, 2017 at 6:18 am

I cannot answer specific questions like that here. But if you look at the I-765 direct filing addresses, you should be able to find NH and the office where you are supposed to mail the application. Take care, Jason

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Mahekky October 19, 2017 at 8:34 pm

Thank you for this article Jason. Its very sad to see how some people think of asylum applicants.
I have filed for my EAD at Texas office. I have a question, please can you help understand the steps involved
Some people say there will be a receipt we will receive along with a number to track the card online.
Some say EAD card will be issued and sent to home in 3 weeks since it is texas office.
Some say social security card will issued in 14 days since then process is now changed and the same form as EAD can be used to issue social security card.

Please can you let me know what is the reality and that I should only focus on what is real.
This is the first time after 5 months when we are eligible to apply For EAD and social security.
This is for my husband, self and my child

Also does my lawyer need to help me open/ file for taxes?

Many thanks for your advice/ help in advanc

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Jason Dzubow October 20, 2017 at 6:14 am

Lawyers do not normally help with taxes, but it depends on the lawyer. As for the EAD, I do not know the schedule in TX. We are seeing most cases take 4 or 5 months to get the EAD, but some parts of the country are faster (maybe including TX). In any case, you should receive the receipt after maybe 3 weeks and you can track that at http://www.uscis.gov. The policy about the social security cards is new, and I do not yet know how well it is working, but supposedly, you will get the EAD and the SS card in the mail. Take care, Jason

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Asylum seeker October 19, 2017 at 7:45 pm

Jason,

Thank you very much for updating us on the new regulations, policies, strategies and also political messages related to asylum in the US.

Indeed it is very sad to read that the US leadership is passing such messages which cause more frustration to already frustrated asylum seekers waiting for their interviews or asylum decisions. I am one of the asylum seekers which have been stuck in the system living an unpredictable life here thousand miles away from my beloved ones. I can imagine and understand what asylum seekers are going through in this country. Every month we are checking the asylum bulletin to see a miracle come through but the ugly bulletin is not stuck in same year. We asylum seekers did not stay in this country to exploit the so-called asylum system. There is no system as such to be exploited, we do not get any social benefit, health insurance or etc to stay here and exploit the system. We are here out of necessity having potential threat in our countries. I wonder why the US Government is not having the determination to put full force and clear up the backlog of hunderds of asylum seeksers waiting for interview and their results. Nobody is gets asylum for granted, everyone is goes through interview and background check and other process until getting an affirmative decision. I am suprised that US Government with all advanced technology in hand is not able to clear up the hunderds of blacklog cases. Germany being a small country compare to US, received over 1 million asylum seekers in 2016. I do not mean they have perfect immigration system but at least they do not keep asylum seekers waiting for years, infact asylum seekers receive social benefits even their cases are not decided.

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Jason Dzubow October 20, 2017 at 6:10 am

Thank you for the comment – I have also observed that the long delays re-traumatize asylum seekers. Keeping people separated from their family members, especially young children, is a real disaster. Unfortunately, the current Administration has no designs to help asylum seekers. If they make the system faster, it will only be with the goal to deport more people. Of course, the law is still the law, so maybe their efforts will also result in people getting asylum faster. We shall see. Take care, Jason

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X RAY October 19, 2017 at 2:49 pm

Hi, Jason, I applied for asylum since December 2014, I didn’t receive any letter for an interview until right now but when I look at on the Affirmative bulletin schedule they are interviewing the cases of may 2015.
I’m living in Iowa and I Applied to the office of Chicago because asylum case of Iowa depend on Chicago office of asylum.

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AlexH October 19, 2017 at 6:45 pm

Hi, I am in a very similar situation with you, I submitted in Seattle in July, 2014, Seattle belongs to office in San Fran, they are already interviewing June 2015, but I still receive no interview letter. Sub offices are extremely slower than main office, you can send email to them with your Asylum A number, then they will respond let you know who they are currently interviewing from people who submitted in your local office, get an idea. But it’s really slow, like Seattle is 2 years slower than San Fran… so just be prepared… Good luck..

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X RAY October 20, 2017 at 10:05 am

Thanks a lot could you send me their email ?

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AlexH October 20, 2017 at 6:30 pm

Hey, X Ray, you can email them at: Chicago.Asylum@uscis.dhs.gov
You can check on their info at: https://egov.uscis.gov/crisgwi/go?action=offices.detail&office=ZCH&OfficeLocator.office_type=ZSY&OfficeLocator.statecode=IA
Good luck! It takes San Fran office at least a month to even respond my email.. so just be patient

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AlexH October 20, 2017 at 6:40 pm

Hi, X Ray,
I think the Webpage setting not allowing me post email address and website, so I will just forward you how I searched it,
Go to Google and search :Asylum Office Locator,
Click on the first web pop up, from USCIS
Scroll down and click on your state map
Then it will pull up all info you need including phone #,email.
Good luck! It takes San Fran office at least a month to even respond my email.. so just be patient

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Jason Dzubow October 22, 2017 at 9:32 am

There is also a link at the right side of this blog called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

Jason Dzubow October 20, 2017 at 6:04 am

If the main office is listing May 2015, you should email them and ask about your case, since they passed your filing date. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. It may be that you will be interviewed at a sub-office or on a circuit ride, and if so, you would be on a different (and probably slower) schedule than the main office. Take care, Jason

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June October 19, 2017 at 1:51 pm

Hello Jason,
I am an asylee and can you help me how do i get to know my address change has been updated? As did file address change both via online and post but i still didn’t get confirmation by post that my address has been changed.
Secondly I got mail for jury service and can you explain me what it is? Is there any way i could request them my inability to attend jury service?
Thank you

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Jason Dzubow October 20, 2017 at 6:03 am

Normally, if you file the AR-11 on-line, you get a confirmation notice. You can also contact the asylum office to ask whether your address was updated. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. As for jury service, I do not know. I think you will have to go and ask about that. But I did not think people with asylum pending would have to serve on a jury. Take care, Jason

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Daniel October 19, 2017 at 9:34 am

To expand on your point, the fact that 50-60% of asylum cases are denied does not mean that 50-60% of them are “fake,” in the sense of telling lies to U.S. officers. Often when the case is denied, the Immigration Judge or asylum officer does not dispute the truth of the asylum seeker’s testimony or the authenticity of their evidence, but simply disagrees with the asylum seeker that these facts are sufficient to meet the legal requirements for asylum, or does not agree that the facts justify the conclusions that the asylum seeker draws from them. I know this is obvious to you as an attorney, but perhaps not to all the readers of the blog.

I disagree with your statement: “So court rulings undermine the intent of Congress? Any attorney who makes such a statement casts doubt on that lawyer’s competence and devotion to the rule of law.” Under the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, a lawyer may make “a good faith argument for . . . reversal of existing law,” and an argument that an existing precedent undermined the intent of Congress, if properly supported, could certainly be in good faith. It is very reasonable, for example, to argue that the Slaughterhouse Cases undermined Congress’s intent in voting for the 14th Amendment, and at least one Justice of the Supreme Court has publicly indicated he would be willing to entertain an argument against Slaughterhouse on that ground. Jeff Sessions may be wrong in claiming that existing court decisions have undermined Congress’s intent in enacting asylum, but the mere act of making the argument does not make someone incompetent or less than devoted to the rule of law.

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Jason Dzubow October 20, 2017 at 5:52 am

I agree with your first point and thank you for the clarification, as it is important. As to your second point, I might be more agreeable to that if we were talking about one case or a dozen cases, but we are talking about hundreds of cases over a period of decades. So I suppose as a general proposition, I might agree with you, but in this instance, I can’t view the AG’s statement that generously. I certainly appreciate the point though, and your comment. Thank you, Jason

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Al October 18, 2017 at 11:52 am

He lacks basic knowledge in the asylum procedure, the attorney general. Now that’s insane.

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Tabish October 18, 2017 at 10:00 am

Hi Jason,

Thanks for taking time and writing these articles, indeed you are helping all those in desperate need. I pray to God to give you more energy to continue the good work that you have been doing.

I have some doubts and appreciate if you can clarify them for me. Can someone who is granted Asylum and has been given a Green Card based on his Asylum Grant use his/her country of origin’s passport while traveling overseas ? If that is not the case then is using Travel Document required all along until he/she goes through naturalization to become American Citizen ? So if travel document is required for all these years, we know that USCIS issues travel document with 1 year validity is there any way one can apply for the one which has a longer period like 2 years or more ?

Thanks again for your time in clarifying these doubts for me I am pretty sure it is not only going to benefit me but all those who are visiting this blog.

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Jason Dzubow October 18, 2017 at 8:16 pm

It is better not to use your passport, especially if your asylum case involved persecution by your government (as it is the same government that would give you a passport and theoretically protect you when you travel). It is better to use the Refugee Travel Document (form I-131, available at http://www.uscis.gov). Not all countries will accept the RTD and so you will only be able to go to those places if you use your passport. I have had clients use their passports after winning asylum, and they have not had any problems, but people can have problems if they use the passport (especially these days) and it is much better to use the RTD until you are a US citizen. Unfortunately, I believe there is no way to get an RTD that is valid for more than one year, but you might double check the instructions, as I do not remember for sure. Take care, Jason

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George October 18, 2017 at 9:34 am

Hi Jason !
Its so disturbing to hear those words from a person in that position!

I just have a quick question, is everyone who was granted asylum and applying for GC after one year will be interviewed? Or only refugees or their relatives applying for GC ! , and what is the interview about ? Is it gonna be the same like the asylum case interview that was before the asylum officer ? With all the details about the statement and so ? Or just questions about the gc application like criminal charges , work and address and so ?
Thanks a lot for your help and time.

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Jason Dzubow October 18, 2017 at 8:11 pm

It seems that principal asylees will not be interviewed; only dependent asylees will be interviewed. Supposedly, it will be a fairly minimal interview and they will be asked mostly the “bar” questions (are you a criminal, did you have military training, etc) and the questions on the I-485 (which are basically the same as the “bar” questions). I do not think the interview will be a big deal, but I do expect it will cause additional delay. Take care, Jason

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Chathuska October 18, 2017 at 9:19 am

Hi Jason,
Thank you a once again for helping people like us who are in the dark. I am a current asylum seeker and my case was refereed to an immigration judge. and I have the 2nd hearing in 2019. I am also going to marry my boyfriend. We have being together for an year, we know that we want to spend the rest of the lives together. . He is a US citizen. At this point can I apply for the green card through him , i-130 and then I-485 ?. What will happen to the asylum case with immigration judge ? , Should I withdraw it after I receive the green card. Thank you very much JAson.

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Jason Dzubow October 18, 2017 at 8:09 pm

Assuming you are eligible to adjust status, the normal procedure is for him to file the I-130. Once that is approved, you ask the court to terminate proceedings, and then you file the I-485. There are exceptions to this, and there are different ways to do it (and you may not be eligible, though if you entered the US with a visa and you are not convicted of any crimes, you are probably eligible). It is really worth talking to a lawyer about this, as the lawyer should be able to make sure you are eligible and get it done. Take care, Jason

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Whatnow! October 18, 2017 at 6:47 am

Hello there Jason , Hope u are well and great health and spirits
I am applying for my asylum however I would like to add my fiancé who is not with me now in the US on my case , the I589 asks for the name of spouse , so can I add her to my case ? And will that be a issue for her if she applies for the Us B1B2 visa ? Thanks for your help and support . God bless you

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Jason Dzubow October 18, 2017 at 8:05 pm

You can only add a spouse (legally married) – you cannot add a fiance. If she comes here and you get married, then you can add her to your case. However, if she tries to come here and the US government thinks she will join your asylum case, they might deny her a visa or deny her entry into the country. Take care, Jason

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Scopa October 19, 2017 at 3:58 pm

Similar question here
I applied through a lawyer who gave me a form to add my fiancé also. I have never seen such thing on the USCIS form. But the lawyer office has additional form which asks the name of fiancé.
My question is I and my finacé decided to cut oir relationship and I inform my lawyer who has told that the form is already sent and he can’t help. Can I።wrote USCIS to amend my application?

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Jason Dzubow October 20, 2017 at 6:06 am

You can inform them, but a fiancé cannot be added to your case – you have to be legally married. Maybe the lawyer just informed the asylum office that you have a fiancé. Given that, I really do not know what form you are talking about, and so I do not know how to advise you. I think you should get some clarification from your lawyer about what form was filed, and how a fiancé can be included as part of an asylum case. Take care, Jason

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Tom October 17, 2017 at 10:44 pm

Dear Jason, could you please answer following three questions.

1. I don’t have many documents right now. Meanwhile, since I decided to do that, I’d like to apply for political asylum as soon as possible to get SSN etc. Can I send documents like letters from officials that confirm my problems etc. to USCIS after I sent i-589? Won’t that damage my chances?

2. Can I add the links to internet resources in my history document? For example, I’d like to upload the video to YouTube and put the link on my history document. Otherwise, I wonder how I can provide media files.

3. I wrote a number of article on different opposition websites but always signed with a nickname. The only way to confirm that I was that person is to demonstrate my control over Yahoo mailbox. How can I do it? On interview? Are there other ways people solve the nickname problem?

Thank you for the response in advance!

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Jason Dzubow October 18, 2017 at 7:59 pm

1 – You can file the case now and submit other evidence later, before the interview (and in accordance with the rules of your asylum office). That is how we do the cases. 2 – You can provide links or a CD with videos, but normally, they do not want such evidence unless it is directly related to you (not general info about the country, for example). 3 – You can print screen shots to show you control the mail box. You can also get letters from people who know about your nickname. Take care, Jason

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Tom October 19, 2017 at 1:14 am

Thank you so much! I got it. What about the history? Should I attach it to the i-589? Or maybe I can send it with the evidence later.

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Jason Dzubow October 19, 2017 at 6:17 am

I do not know what you mean by “history documents,” but videos and such can be submitted later. Take care, Jason

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Tom October 19, 2017 at 8:01 pm

Basically, people told me I have to submit to USCIS 1) i-589, 2) the narrative about the problems that forced you to leave your country, 3) evidences that support the narrative. I understood that I can send evidences later. But what about the narrative? Best, Tom.

Amanda October 17, 2017 at 10:23 pm

EAD taking so long to be issued in Texas Center Service. This is a renewal and i have been waiting to process my EAD case for about 6 months now. I did call USCIS, emailed Texas Center and nothing still now. What should i do now?

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L.F October 17, 2017 at 10:26 pm

Not just Texas
Nebraska too, its been 5 months now

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Jimi October 17, 2017 at 11:25 pm

Amanda, I’m also wainting since 5 months for EAD renewal, doing nothing beside wait. Talk to USCIS two times they just sent useless replay, looks like everything is planned to give more torcher to Asylees. Few days back requested Ombudsman for enquiry let see!!
There is no life and home for asylee, one thing I got to know now!!

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Jason Dzubow October 18, 2017 at 6:37 am

Most EAD renewals seem to be slow. You can make an Info Pass appointment at http://www.uscis.gov and try to go in person. Sometimes that is more effective than a phone call. If the process is very slow, you can contact the USCIS Ombudsman for help – a link is at right. Take care, Jason

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alex October 17, 2017 at 6:31 pm

Is this stemming from the numbers of asylum requests at the border? Don’t you think that the asylum system is being used as a way in the US by the number of claims at the borders that eventually end up not showing up for hearings? I completely agree that the tone is obviously anti-immigrant in general but the asylum system need some sort of reform but I hope it does not happen under this administration.
Does not the law allow anyone who shows up at the border to seek asylum? Perhaps the US can reach an agreement with south America like the Dublin treaty in EU.

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alex October 17, 2017 at 6:35 pm

Also I asked you alot about my situation re ban, asylum, employment based AOS. Well my employment based AOS want through and I just received GC despite the ban and despite being denied asylum couple of years ago.
Hope this helps.

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Jason Dzubow October 18, 2017 at 6:29 am

That is great – even if you are from a banned country (and the ban seems to be on hold again), it would not block you from getting a GC if you are already here. Congratulations, Jason

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Jason Dzubow October 18, 2017 at 6:27 am

I think the border is a large area of concern, and the backlog in court is partly due to border cases. However, the law currently allows people who arrive at the border to seek asylum. If Congress wants to change that – or to change the procedure for seeking asylum at the border (for example, to require everyone at the border to remain detained for the duration of their cases), they can do that. Here, though, the Attorney General is making an assumption about fraud and asylum that is not based on the evidence. He is also making an assumption about the intent of Congress that is not based on the evidence (and that is actually contrary to the evidence, as many courts have already interpreted and published opinions on Congress’s intent). I have always felt that Congress (i.e., the People) need to decide what to do about asylum seekers in general, and asylum seekers at the border in particular. Unfortunately, we as a nation seem incapable of having a rational conversation about immigration/asylum, and so we keep getting nowhere with this. As for Jeff Sessions, I think he simply wants to block foreigners from coming here, which is not the intent of Congress, though it is the intent of Jess Sessions and President Trump. Take care, Jason

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Dena October 17, 2017 at 5:41 pm

This is terribly bad news to hear from the higher official of the immigration system. So what is our fate for asylum seekers whose case is still pending not interviewed? What is our chance of getting interviewed and granted asylum ? Or is US unsafe for us again just the country we left and came to get shade? Where is safe for us?

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Jason Dzubow October 18, 2017 at 6:19 am

The Attorney General is not the “boss” of the asylum offices – they are under a different department (DHS). He is the boss of the Immigration Courts, and so his words are distressing. I think most judges are opposed to what he is saying, as they want to make independent decisions in each case based on the law. So far, I cannot say that we are seeing much effect on individual cases from the Attorney General, but we will see how things go. The law is still the law, and unless that changes, there is only so much damage that he can do. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow October 20, 2017 at 6:11 am

You have to complete the form, and that asks for info about why you need asylum. So we give a brief statement about what is needed, and we send the detailed narrative later. To me, this makes sense, since cases are so slow, things may change, and so we do not want to submit the story and have to submit an updated story later (but you could do it that way if you prefer). Take care, Jason

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Tom October 20, 2017 at 10:11 am

Yes, I think that is definitely the right approach. Thank you!

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Tom October 20, 2017 at 12:41 pm

However, the corresponding text fields like Part B 1A/B of i589 are not editable. I tried on both Mac and Windows PC but failed (( Is it a technical issue?

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Jason Dzubow October 20, 2017 at 2:33 pm

Maybe. There are a few boxes on the new I-589 form that we cannot edit either, and so we write those in by hand. It is pretty annoying. Take care, Jason

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Greg October 21, 2017 at 8:20 pm

I had the same problem. Installing the newest version of Acrobat Reader helped but saving the file with another pdf editor caused the problem again, even for Acrobat Reader.

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