Arrested and Charged with Lying in an Asylum Case

by Jason Dzubow on January 3, 2018

Last month, my client was arrested by the FBI and charged with visa fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. He stands accused of lying on his I-589 asylum application and at his asylum interview. The client was held for a day or two and then released with instructions to appear in federal court.

If rich white guys can (theoretically) get into trouble for lying, you can too. So tell the truth!

My client’s case is both a cautionary tale and a sign of the times, so I wanted to discuss it here. But I am somewhat limited in what I can say, given that he has an active criminal case (not to mention a pending asylum case).

The charging documents in the criminal case allege that my client traveled from his home country, Country A, to a third country, Country B, and registered with the United Nations using a UNHCR Refugee Resettlement Form (“RRF”) in 2010. The RRF allegedly includes a photo of my client and contact information for him in Country B. The United Nations tried several times to reach the client in 2014 and 2015, but when he could not be reached, the UN closed his refugee resettlement case.

The documents also allege that my client applied for a non-immigrant visa to the United States, and then came to this country in 2013. After arriving in the U.S., my client applied for asylum using form I-589.

The asylum form, Part C, Question 2.B., asks whether “you, your spouse, your children, your parents, or your siblings ever applied for or received any lawful status in any country other than the one from which you are now claiming asylum?” If the answer is “yes,” the applicant must provide “the name of each country and the length of stay, the person’s status while there, the reason for leaving, whether or not the person is entitled to return for lawful residence purposes, and whether the person applied for refugee status or for asylum while there, and if not, why he or she did not do so.” According to the charging document, my client did not inform USCIS that he applied for refugee status while in Country B. The FBI charges that he deliberately omitted this information in order to conceal his past travels or possible legal status in Country B.

The charging documents also refer to my client’s interview at the asylum office. According to the documents, the Asylum Officer asked whether my client had been in Country B, and he denied having ever been there.

Based on the information on the form and his testimony at the interview, the charging documents allege that my client lied under oath, and that his lies constitute visa fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1546(a).

Whether or not the government has a strong case against my client, and my own opinion of his case (and his veracity) are not issues I can discuss here. Instead, I want to talk about two other points. First, what this charge means for asylum seekers in general, and second, whether my client’s criminal case represents a new trend from the Trump Administration or is simply business as usual.

First, what does it mean that an asylum seeker can be charged with a crime for allegedly lying on his application? In fact, this is nothing new. The signature page of the asylum form clearly indicates (in language that no one ever bothers to read) that lying on the form carries criminal and immigration consequences, including possible imprisonment of up to 25 years.

Frankly, I am not all that sympathetic to people who lie to obtain immigration status in the United States. Our asylum system was created to help people fleeing persecution. Asylum seekers who lie damage the integrity of that system and erode public confidence in the asylum process. Worst of all, they harm legitimate asylum applicants by causing their cases to move more slowly and by making asylum more difficult to win. Coming to a new country and requesting asylum comes with certain obligations, such as learning the rules of the new country and following those rules, and that is what asylum seekers must do.

On the other hand, I do understand why some people lie. Many asylum seekers come from countries where the government is little more than a criminal institution. They have no faith in government because their life experience teaches them otherwise. To survive in such places, people must regularly lie to their governments or pay bribes to get things done. It’s not surprising that when such people reach the U.S., they have little compunction about lying on their immigration forms.

Further, many people coming to the United States are at the mercy of the community members they know who are already here. If such people are honest, informed, and willing to help, asylum seekers will get good advice. But if the community members happen to be dishonest or ill-informed, or if they are trying to take advantage of their countrymen (as happens all too often), the asylum seekers may be convinced to lie, even when it is against their own best interests. In many cases, the “lies” are grounded in naivete rather than mendacity. They are more a product of bad luck than moral turpitude. But the rules is the rules, and people who do not follow the rules may have to face the consequences.

My second question is whether the criminal case against my client is a sign that the Trump Administration is ramping up prosecutions against asylum seekers?

One anecdote does not a trend make. And as usual, the best source of statistical information is TRAC Immigration. TRAC’s most recent report about prosecutions for immigration violations (current as of October 2017) reveals something of a mixed bag.

Prosecutions for all immigration violations are up 3.4% from 2016, and such prosecutions have been on an upward trajectory since about April 2017, but they are still significantly below the peak period of immigration prosecutions in 2012. The vast majority of these prosecutions relate to Re-entry of a Deported Alien (8 U.S.C. § 1326 – 1,551 cases filed in October 2017) and Bringing In and Harboring Certain Aliens (8 U.S.C. § 1324 – 295 cases filed in October 2017). A minority of prosecutions (54 cases) were filed under 8 U.S.C. § 1546 (the statute my client was charged under), and another dozen or so cases were filed based on other fraud-related charges (we do not know how many of these cases involved asylum seekers, and how many involved other types of immigration fraud).

For comparison’s sake, the most recent data shows that non-citizens are applying for asylum at the rate of about 12,000 per month (this only counts affirmative cases, not court cases), so only a very small percentage (about 0.6% at most–and probably much less) of asylum seekers are being criminally charged with fraud. Further, according to the TRAC data, the number of aliens charged under 8 U.S.C. § 1546 has actually declined over the past year.

So the short answer is probably that, while prosecutions for immigration fraud in general are on the increase, in absolute numbers, very few people are being charged, and there is (so far) no real evidence pointing to an increase in prosecutions for asylum fraud. Of course, the best way to ensure that you don’t defy the odds and end up in criminal court is to tell the truth.

{ 137 comments… read them below or add one }

asniya January 15, 2018 at 8:26 pm

hi! my asylum is still pending right now. and my question is
can I change my current lawyer who is going to represent my case?

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Jason Dzubow January 16, 2018 at 7:43 am

Yes – You have a right to a lawyer (at your own expense) and you can change whenever you like. Take care, Jason

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Sim January 15, 2018 at 7:40 pm

Jason,

Please tell me when I apply my first ead after 180 do I need to send G28 & I-765). Botwill be needed for work authorization. Do I need to pay for my ead as it’s first one ?

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Jason Dzubow January 16, 2018 at 7:43 am

The G-28 is a form for the lawyer. The first EAD based on asylum pending is free – there is no government fee. Take care, Jason

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Basel January 14, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Hi Jason,
I was granted asylum Dec 16th of 2016
Filed for I-730 for my wife and daughter. Their case is still pending and when I called them to tell them it’s been out of processing time they replied by telling me we need more time to decide. Based on that I applied for travel document but then the travel ban is on again and don’t know if I should rist to fly and see my family in a near country or not. Haven’t applied for green card yet since the fee is $1050. Will applying for a green card then flying protect me and guaratees my entry abck here? Am I included in the travel ban as an asylee with a travel document? Thanks in advance

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Jason Dzubow January 15, 2018 at 8:00 am

My understanding is that people who have asylum are not affected by the travel ban. So if you are traveling with the Refugee Travel Document and you do not go to the home country, you should be fine. Talk to a lawyer if you have any specific concerns or issues in your case. If the fee for the GC is too high, you can request a fee waiver using form I-912, available at http://www.uscis.gov. Take care, Jason

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Sim January 13, 2018 at 11:08 am

Hi Jason,
Please guide me . I have lawyer who I hire to file my case but now when the time Came to file my work permit he is asking money which he said I owe him but I don’t owe him anything so what u suggest should I continue with him and pay for I can file my work permit and hire other lawyer interview time.

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Jason Dzubow January 14, 2018 at 12:15 pm

It depends on your contract with the lawyer – you should take a look at that. We charge separately for doing an EAD, as it is additional work (we didn’t used to charge, but the long delays have caused more work, so we started to charge) and that is stated in the contract. Take care, Jason

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Zakir Alam January 12, 2018 at 11:18 pm

We got family B1/B2 visa while I was employment visa in UAE. From there, we never travel to USA and after 6 month we moved permanently to our home country through final exit from UAE. During stayed about 5 month in my home country, we had incidents about political problem and finally traveled to USA with family. Upon arrived in Abu Dhabi airports Immigration officer asked, you have UAE residence so you are most welcome but he didn’t noticed that my employment visa had been cancelled on passports. After arrived here, we lounge the application for Asylum based on scenario what has incidents happened in home country during 5 month. So my query, will be there any issues when USCIS office will be call us for an interview why did you travel once you got B1/B2 visa?

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Jason Dzubow January 14, 2018 at 12:11 pm

You will need to explain what happened, but I do not think you will have a problem with this. UAE does not offer asylum or permanent status to non-citizens, so you may want to include some evidence about that (such as a website on UAE immigration law) with your asylum case. It seems you did not have a fear when you returned to your country, but then something happened during the return trip, and now you fear persecution there. We have had many cases like this, and the return travel has not been a problem for purposes of seeing asylum. Take care, Jason

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alex January 9, 2018 at 3:10 pm

Hi Jason,

Thank you for another insightful article. I, too, do not sympathize with people who lie to get asylum. However, if the govt would like to adopt a stricter policy they could start viewing any inconstancy during the interview or the filing process as a form of lying. Is this a possibility?

Also, on another note relating to the long waits, I, like many others on this forum, had to wait ~4, 5 years to get a denial. But to my surprise my employment based application was relatively very quick. I am guessing that a security clearance was obtained during the asylum process which allowed my employment application to move fast. I am just trying to make sense of it and share my experience perhaps it helps others esp that now with the termination of alot of TPS and DACA, the asylum backlog is going to be clogged even more.

Again thanks for all the help and Happy New Year.

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Jason Dzubow January 9, 2018 at 6:48 pm

If you are referring to the EAD, I do not think there is a major security check for that (though I do think there is some type of check). If it is an employment-based green card, then I do not know. I doubt the asylum background check could be used for that (USCIS does not seem that efficient), but maybe it can. I do think they could tighten the standards related to evidence, but much of that is statutory, and so they could only do so much without an act of Congress. We still have our obligations under the Refugee Convention, and so hopefully, we will not see much change in that area, but they are doing all they can to make life harder for non-citizens, so we will have to wait and see. Take care, Jason

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Ali Khan January 9, 2018 at 5:31 am

Hi Jason,

I wanted to ask you something. I had my interview on Dec 2nd 2017 and was supposed to pick up the decision in two weeks (out of status). A day before I got a Call from the officer himself telling me “he will make it easier for me and Mail out the decision” and he did mention the case looks good- dunno what that means- but I had a very serious asylum claim on religion”. Do you know why he decided to mail it instead of giving me decision? Just so you know I’m from an “one of the concerning countries” and have a common last name. I read somewhere you said it take longer for young men from Islamic countries?? You have any idea? Thanks a lot 🙂

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Jason Dzubow January 9, 2018 at 7:30 am

It often does take longer for men from Muslim countries, and so they delay could be related to the security background check. It was nice that he called you, but telling you that he was mailing the decision to help you seems a bit disingenuous. If he wants to help you, why not give you the decision as soon as possible. Hopefully, you will get it soon and it will be good, but it probably would have been better for the officer not to say so much to you during the phone call, as it raises expectations and may make the wait more difficult. On the other hand, the officer may just have been trying to be nice and I am too cynical. Take care, Jason

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yousle January 9, 2018 at 7:57 pm

hey Jason i think some people are lucky a month a go i friend of mine in Newark asylum office after interviewed the officer she said wait out side until we call you a gain he did some mistakes with him interpreter and the officer she was not nice they call him after 2 hours at the reception guess what ? they grant him asylum same day no 2 weeks no mail out he is young man from Muslim country even the ban country he show me him grant letter so its all luck thanks jason

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Jason Dzubow January 10, 2018 at 7:15 am

I do not believe that this is true – it is just not how things work. I believe he told you this, but maybe he was confused, or maybe he went back a second time and got the decision at that time. On the other hand, I suppose anything is possible, but unless I had much better confirmation, I would not put much faith in what he told you. Take care, Jason

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alex January 9, 2018 at 3:14 pm

take whatever they say with a grain of salt. I was told during the interview that decision get issued within 2 weeks, 4 years later i got it, and it was denial esp if you’re a muslim from the middle east.

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Jason Dzubow January 9, 2018 at 6:49 pm

I am sorry to say this, but I agree with you. Take care, Jason

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Zac January 8, 2018 at 8:56 pm

So
If you previously had a residency of third country
But you left it for your home country and you faced prosecution then moved to USA ? You can’t apply for asylum based on fact that you had a residency of third country before?!
Notice that you left to USA from your home country not a third country and you lost your residency in the third country While you are in the US
Can you still apply for asylum in the US?

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R H January 8, 2018 at 10:45 pm

Hi Zac
I was in a similar situation when I applied for asylum. I left my home country and lived for 5 years in a third country before moving into the US. And when I applied for asylum here the burden was on me to prove that I could not return to the third country as I had no legal status there. It is very likely that you will be asked to provide some document showing that why you will not be able to go back to that third country.

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Zac January 9, 2018 at 12:07 am

Thanks R H for your reply
I stayed outside the third country 6 months (in the USA) so I lost my residency in the third country while I’m here in the US
And also I didn’t renew it becouse the expiration date past without being in the third country so I couldn’t renew it
And the main thing I came to the US directly from my home country not through the third country which I already lost my residency there now !

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Jason Dzubow January 9, 2018 at 7:19 am

Please see my response to R.H. This situation may be more tricky than it appears, and I do think it would be worthwhile to talk to a lawyer about the specifics of your case in order to avoid any problem with the firm resettlement bar. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow January 9, 2018 at 7:15 am

The legal standard has changed a bit, and the analysis is more complicated than it used to be. Also, the law is not fully settled on this point. A person may be considered firmly resettled if they had an offer to live permanently in a third country, even if they did not accept the offer and even if they cannot now go to the third country. For an issue like that, it is a good idea to have a lawyer. Take care, Jason

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Holly January 9, 2018 at 12:34 pm

Hi Jason,

I have a follow-up question to your comment.
“A person may be considered firmly resettled if they had an offer to live permanently in a third country, even if they did not accept the offer and even if they cannot now go to the third country.”

What if there was an offer but the person was outside the third country and never entered the country abandoning the offer?

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Jason Dzubow January 9, 2018 at 6:38 pm

I think that the offer alone is not enough; they also must have been in the country. I am not sure about this, however, as the law changed and I have not dealt with that exact issue. If that is your situation, I would have a lawyer research the law to give you a more definitive answer. Take care, Jason

Jason Dzubow January 9, 2018 at 7:11 am

It depends – if you were “firmly resettled” in the third country, you may be ineligible for asylum (you can still get other relief). I wrote about that on January 30, 2012 and June 22, 2017. Take care, Jason

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zac January 9, 2018 at 8:10 pm

but the third country I had it’s residency before it was ended
don’t accept the refuges or asylum and don’t give nationality to residents
they also can prosecute me or depart me
It’s one of the third middle east countries
not in Europe or free world

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Jason Dzubow January 10, 2018 at 7:19 am

You should get evidence that it does not accept refugees and does not give permanent status. If it is a Gulf country, the US government is well-aware that they do not accept refugees. Even so, it would not hurt to have an explanation about that and maybe some evidence. Take care, Jason

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Zac January 10, 2018 at 1:18 pm

Mr. Jason
You are so smart
Indeed it’s one of Gulf countries!
I had their residency as I was working there
But this is confusing because it was called by their system a residency! (not work visa) so it’s technically a permanent residency but conditional if you lost your job you have to find another job or leave to country
And they can extend or renew it for many years but without gaining any benefits like nationality and if you are stayed for more 35 years you have the right to stay without any conditions
So it’s still permanent residency but conditional ?

Liz January 15, 2018 at 1:33 pm

Hi Jason,
Relating to your discussion regarding the third country resettlement, if the person stayed in a third country holding temporary students visa for several years and when the student visa expired travelled to US, is this might cause a problem?

Asylum seeker January 8, 2018 at 8:34 pm

Hi Jason
As a lawyer how sure u r that the schedule bulletin is correct??

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Jason Dzubow January 9, 2018 at 7:08 am

Pretty sure – We have only seen people interviewed outside the schedule when there is a reason, though I have heard some asylum offices will be randomly scheduling some applicants for interviews, but I have not seen that personally. Take care, Jason

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Cris January 8, 2018 at 8:00 pm

Hi Jason good day! Can President Trump end the asylum program? Just like he is ending the TPS for El Salvadorians. Thank you very much and more power to you.

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Jason Dzubow January 8, 2018 at 8:30 pm

He can do things to make asylum more difficult, but he cannot eliminate it. Asylum is based on a treaty and it would require an act of Congress to eliminate it. That does not seem to be on the table these days. TPS was created by the executive branch and can be ended by the executive branch, as seems to be happening. Take care, Jason

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Cris January 8, 2018 at 8:41 pm

Thank you very much.

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R H January 8, 2018 at 11:01 pm

Hi Jason
A few days ago, President Trump gave full-throated support to the antigovernment protesters in Iran. I wonder if the President knew that if any of those brave men and women try to seek asylum in the US, they will be labeled as terrorist and inadmissible because of TRIG as the law does not provide any exception for those who are struggling against an authoritarian regime.

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Jason Dzubow January 9, 2018 at 7:17 am

The protestors might be banned from obtaining visas by the travel ban, but I do not think they would be barred by TRIG, as peaceful protests are not the same as supporting terrorists. Nevertheless, your point is well taken, and I have little confidence that the President understand (or cares about) the irony of his position. Take care, Jason

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Valerie January 8, 2018 at 7:46 pm

Hi Jason,

I am hoping you can shed some light on the backlog bulletin from the Los Angeles Office. After years of almost zero movement, they are suddenly scheduling interviews at a crazy speed. They have moved from interviewing cases filed in November 2013 to cases filed in October 2014 in just 3 months. Do you have any idea what is behind the sudden speed?

Thank you

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Jason Dzubow January 8, 2018 at 8:29 pm

It may have to do with how cases entered the backlog. Many cases from 2013 and 2014 are already interviewed (almost no canes from 2015-2018 are interviewed), so it may be that there were not many cases between November 2013 and October 2014 remaining, and so it was easy to get through the cases. Also, LA was receiving help from other offices, so maybe that affected things. Finally, LA dealt with many people entering on the US/Mexico border, and the number of people entering has slowed down a lot, so maybe that allowed them to move more quickly. This is a long way of saying that I don’t really know, but these are all possibilities. Take care, Jason

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Rsv January 8, 2018 at 9:58 pm

Thanks Jason, any idea why Miami office is not moving at all whereas all the other offices around US has shown some progress within last year.

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Jason Dzubow January 9, 2018 at 7:13 am

I do not know, but it is moving a bit, as my law partner was just there yesterday for an interview (though maybe he was pretending to have an interview as a way to escape to someplace warm, I am not sure). Take care, Jason

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Rsv January 9, 2018 at 4:22 pm

I hear you sir. Would you be so kind and advise if possible what month had his client applied and got the interview now. If possible that may give us some hope and thanks for always there to answer our queries.

Aryan January 8, 2018 at 5:00 pm

Dear Jason..
” Unfortunately, we are unable to approve your request for short notice. Your file is currently in transit to the Newark Asylum Office (ZNK) and until it arrives, we cannot approve short notice. However, you may wish to resubmit your request in 60 business days for consideration.”

I received this reply to my short list email request from Newark Office.Where is my file placed currently WHEN it says ” file is currently in transit to ZNK. Could you please explain it a bit, because this really get me confused.

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Thomas January 8, 2018 at 5:31 pm

When you mailed your application, you didn’t send it to the asylum office. Instead, you sent to an intake processing center (typically a USCIS Lockbox.) That location processes your application, conducts security background checks, and processes fees (if any) and then forwards your case to a USCIS office for adjudication. Only the asylum office decides your case. Your case was probably just done with processing and is on its way to the asylum office.

https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/directorates-and-program-offices/lockbox-intake/office-intake-and-document-production

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Aryan January 8, 2018 at 9:57 pm

Dear Thomas
Thanks a lot for your valuable explanation and to be honest I didn”t know this before.
Yes I did sent the application package to Vermont. It means the file is placed in Vermont and in transit to Newark Right ??

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Jason Dzubow January 8, 2018 at 8:22 pm

Who knows? It often takes several months to move a file from one office to another. My theory is that files are transported by donkey, but even donkeys aren’t that slow, so I am not sure. Take care, Jason

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Aryan January 8, 2018 at 9:52 pm

Hahahaha … I liked the way you responded my inquiry.
Anyways appreciated Sir.
Regards

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Oz January 8, 2018 at 12:13 am

Hi Jason,
My asylum case has been pending a decision at Chicago office for 5 years (interview completed 5 years ago).
Can Anything be done to move my case forward other than filing a mandamus?
Multiple inquiries and ombudsman office didn’t help. They don’t tell me about the nature of the delay.

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Jason Dzubow January 8, 2018 at 7:38 am

I think your only real option is mandamus. You could try to contact a Congress person’s office for help, but in my experience, that is a waste of time. Good luck, Jason

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alex January 8, 2018 at 12:31 pm

had a similar situation, 4, 5 years of waiting and multiple tries of ombudsman letters and eventually a denial. My personal assumption is that, although the officer may have made a decision on your case, they can make final processing until they receive security clearance from multiple US agencies. This is what takes so long. I am guessing you’re from a Muslim majority country?

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Broken January 8, 2018 at 6:37 pm

Dear Oz,
Since I saw your post, I have been worried myself sick again because we are both in the same office. It has been a year since interview but there is nothing to show so far. I think if you are not separated from your family, that may be okay but for separated people, that is another form of persecution

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Jolan January 6, 2018 at 4:23 pm

Hi Jason

Do you know what is the current wait time for getting a re entry permit? I applied 3 months ago and the case is still pending. I did my biometrics a couple of months back. This isn’t my first 8 131. Mynprevious one was approved within 2 months. I have upcoming travel and don’t have a passport.

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Jason Dzubow January 7, 2018 at 11:40 am

I am not sure, but there are delays for everything, and so I am not surprised that this is delayed too. For future reference, usually, a refugee travel document is faster than a re-entry permit, if you are eligible for that. You can contact USCIS and tell them about the travel and ask to expedite. Maybe that will help. You can find their phone number or make an appointment at http://www.uscis.gov. Take care, Jason

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Jolan January 7, 2018 at 1:27 pm

Thanks for your reply Jason. The reason I apply for Re-entry permit rather than Refugee travel document is because the former is issued only for a year and the latter is issued for 2 years. I had applied and got the refugee travel doc the first time I got approved for asylum and I realized that it cannot be used beyond 9 months since most countries need at least 3 months validity on your travel documents before they let you in. I wish the USCIS issued the documents for 5 years especially for refugees/Asylees with approved GC.

Anyway thanks for your suggestion about expediting. Could you please let me know what “proof” do they need when I go in for the infopass? Just tickets?

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Jason Dzubow January 8, 2018 at 7:17 am

Tickets, a letter about your family member’s health problem, proof that you are related to your family member – things like this. I certainly agree about one-year limit on the RTD. I have no idea why they only issue it for one year. Take care, Jason

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Anonymous January 6, 2018 at 8:31 am

Hi Jason, complement of the season to you and your family. Pls I have a question for you. I live in Minnesota and I know I’m under Chicago jurisdiction. In the scheduled interviews which box do I belong to, you know there are 3 boxes for each jurisdiction, in Chicago for example-box(1) says they scheduled interview in December for those that filled in April to September (2) they scheduled interview in November for those that filled in March to September (3) they scheduled interview in October for those that filled in March to July. Which of the boxes do I belongs to because I filled in September 2015 and I live in minnesota. Thanks for your quick response.

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Aryan January 6, 2018 at 3:55 pm

@Anonymous … If for example, You OR USCIS hasn’t rescheduled your interview for any reason AND you are not a minor , Then you fall in category (3). That’t what I suggest. Rest Mr.Jason is in better position to reply your query.
Regards

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Anonymous January 6, 2018 at 9:50 pm

Thanks for your response Aryan

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PALMA January 6, 2018 at 7:41 pm

Hello,

I don’t think that how the bulletin actually works; it doesn’t separate any jurisdictions but rather it’s a continuous flow. What that means is, in October they were interviewing people who applied between March-July 2015. Then in November, they interviewed people who applied during March-September 2015. And in December, they interviewed people who applied between April and October 2015. As you can see, they’re just moving along in time. This applies to all the offices that report back to Chicago.

Good luck,

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Anonymous January 6, 2018 at 9:52 pm

@Palma ok I understand now thanks

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Jason Dzubow January 7, 2018 at 11:33 am

The first box is the most current, so that is what applies to you. It means you should be interviewed relatively soon (assuming it is referring to April to Sept 2015). Take care, Jason

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Anonymous January 7, 2018 at 2:36 pm

Thanks Jason. I’m much greatful

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Devdas January 5, 2018 at 11:31 pm

Dear Jason.

Hope all is well with you!

I have one question.

Some of my friends have i-94 and they got from airport the day they land US.

But i dont have such things- applied for asylum in 2016 everything is normal regarding my application just waiting for my interview just wanted to make sure that not having i-94 is not an issue.

Please explain

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Sara January 6, 2018 at 1:54 am

Hey Devdas,
I didn’t get mine at the airport either, and was interviewed with no issues.

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Dana January 7, 2018 at 8:10 pm

Hi sara
Has your asylum case been approved ?
Is it ok to ask you from which country did you apply asylum for ?
Can I email you for a few question, your knowledge seems to be so vast and accurate.
My email address is manch_p@hotmail.com

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Sara January 8, 2018 at 8:44 pm

Hey Dana,
I received a recommended approval, so my case is still pending the final approval. Muslim majority, non-banned country of origin.
My knowledge on asylum does not extend past the limits of my personal experience plus a little bit of research, so I prefer to answer questions on here under Jason’s auspices, where he can correct any misinformation or add anything I may have missed.

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Jason Dzubow January 9, 2018 at 7:09 am

You are being groomed to take over this job soon, so be prepared…

Thomas January 6, 2018 at 3:18 am

An I-94 is now electronic. You can find yours at i94.cbp.dhs.gov All you need is to enter your name and the passport number of the passport you used at the port of entry.

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Sara January 6, 2018 at 9:51 am

As Devdas mentioned, some people are still getting theirs at the airport. Re. I-94 automation: https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/1695/~/i-94-automation—will-cbp-still-issue-paper-i-94%3F
The question is whether it’s an issue if you weren’t given yours at the airport, and the answer is no. Jason will verify this.

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Jamie January 6, 2018 at 5:34 pm

Sara,

There is no issue if you don’t have one as the government phased out paper-based I-94s at the airport as of 2013. I didn’t get one when I came. You can go online an get the I-94 information.

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Sara January 6, 2018 at 7:59 pm

Thanks, Jamie, I agree that it’s not an issue. It was actually Devdas’ question.

Jason Dzubow January 7, 2018 at 11:34 am

It should not be an issue. Take care, Jason

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Sara January 8, 2018 at 8:45 pm

Thank you for the confirmation, Jason.

Jason Dzubow January 7, 2018 at 11:28 am

I do not think it is an issue. You can Google “I-94 locator” and find the CBP website, which allows you to enter your visa info and find your I-94, which you can print and give to the asylum office. In some cases, there is no I-94, but most people can find it there. Take care, Jason

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janclude January 5, 2018 at 7:16 pm

I read on one of your articles, not sure when you have published it, that an average estimation of a money that a lawyer can charge for regular asylum case was something around $3000. That was very good indicator for myself to know if I was overcharged or nor

My question, is there an average or estimation you can set if the case was referred to the immigration court? I need to financially plan for this option, so I can be in good shape if that happens. Please help?

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Broken January 5, 2018 at 9:44 pm

Hi Jeanclude
What made you decide to plan ahead? Did you face any complications during the interview? WHY do you think that you are not most likely to win your case with DHS?

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Jeanclude January 11, 2018 at 1:17 am

Broken
I haven’t assumed winning, not at all when it comes to my asylum case. But this is just to keep some cash on a side for this purpose just in case they referred me to the court. All what I see is black. But this is the normal human reaction when feeling fading to death. Just trying as much as I can to stay alive. 5 years pending, 2 interviews involved, where is any small piece of bright anybody does see?

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Jason Dzubow January 11, 2018 at 7:33 am

The only bright spot is that cases are still being approved. Both in court and at the asylum office. So hopefully, you will get some good news. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow January 7, 2018 at 11:21 am

That was the fee I used to charge (we just raised it to $4000 for most cases), but that is not average, and I know lawyers who regularly charge $10,000 for an asylum case. As for court, we are now charging $6000 for a case, which is a significant increase from last year, but we had to raise our prices as they were too low to maintain the business. Most decent lawyer probably charge between $5000 and $15,000 for a court case, but it depends on where you live, and certainly some lawyers will charge less (like we did until recently). Take care, Jason

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Jamie January 7, 2018 at 4:43 pm

Hi Jason,

I have four questions that I would really appreciate if you respond to:
1. Do you think it’s safe for an asylee, especially given the current political atmosphere, to travel internationally with RTD even though he/she filed for asylum when he/she was out of status (B1/B2)?

2. Has any of your clients who was granted asylum and filed out of status traveled (internationally) hassle-free recently?

3. Would you advise asylees to get a lawyer when they are preparing the application for the Green Card to help navigate the intricacies of the I-485 questions?

4. How much would you suggest a lawyer charges for the preparation of the I-485 application?

Thank you in advance!

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Jason Dzubow January 8, 2018 at 7:24 am

1 – Yes, as long as there are no other issues, like criminal arrests, I have not heard about anyone having a problem using the RTD, even people from banned countries. 2 – I don’t know, and I would only hear about that if they had a problem. For what it’s worth, I have not heard about that from my clients or from other lawyers for their clients. 3 – I hate to do that, as it seems like it should be easy, but there are so many questions on the new form, and the potential consequences of an error can be severe, and so I think it is better to spend some money now to try to be safe rather than have problems and more expenses if there is a mistake. 4 – We were charging $800 for the form for our clients who won asylum, but we just raised our prices this year and I do not remember our new price. We are a little less expensive than most lawyers, and $1000 or $2000 seems fair to me for a good lawyer. Take care, Jason

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Jamie January 8, 2018 at 11:58 am

Hi Jason,

Thank you for your detailed response!

celia January 5, 2018 at 4:19 pm

Hi Jason,

I entered the US on a F1 visa and maintain my F1 status for 3 years before I filled for asylum. My understanding was, at the time, that you can either keep your F1 status and the pending Asylum status which allows you to legally stay in the US, or if you drop your F1 status, you’re still allowed to stay in the US. I dropped my F1 status (I no longer met the 12 credits/semester requirements) and maintained my Asylum application until I got approved last year.
I am now planning a trip overseas with a RTD. As it says on the website, your RTD does not protect you for reentry in case of Visa-overstay. I carefully informed the international student office at my college of my change of status at the time; and I don’t think I’ve ever been out of status. I’d like to hear your opinion.

Best wishes!

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Jason Dzubow January 7, 2018 at 11:16 am

I think if you have a asylum and an RTD, you should be fine. I do not see any issues, but to be safe, you might want to have a lawyer review your case. Take care, Jason

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Jolan January 7, 2018 at 1:34 pm

Hi Celia,

I was in similar position as you, in fact slightly worse. F1 visa, finished degree, started a new program, dropped out due to medical reasons and lost status and then got asylum. I traveled with RTD with no issues before I got my GC. They don’t question you at all. And in our case since we had I-94 that stated Duration of Status, we never accrued illegal presence until issued an NTA (for court appearance). This is what my lawyer told me and I never had any issue. So don’t worry! Good luck!

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Therese January 4, 2018 at 11:20 pm

Hi Jason,
I came to the US as a child of an Asylee through my step mother we had some issues and i move out now I need to apply for my green cart but my step mother don’t want to give me the petition latter so I can move on with my application I have talk to her she still don’t to give it to me . I want to know I get that from her should i go to a lawyer?

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Jason Dzubow January 5, 2018 at 7:41 am

You might try filing a Freedom of Information Act request (form G-639, available at http://www.uscis.gov). This is free and you should be able to get a copy of your entire file, including the asylum approval. A lawyer can help you with this if you want. It takes a few months, but once you have that, you should be able to file for the GC normally. Maybe you can even file without a copy of your asylum documents, since you should have your Alien number (it is on the EAD). However, it is normally better to have a copy of the file. Take care, Jason

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Mohammad January 4, 2018 at 11:14 pm

“If you have the NTA, but the MCH is not yet scheduled: In some cases, the alien receives an NTA, but then waits many months before the MCH is scheduled. In this case, the delay usually lies with DHS (Department of Homeland Security), which issues the NTAs and files them with the Court, rather than with the Court itself.”
Dear jason
Kindly explain this paragraph this is from one of your articles.
I got reffered to court in june 2017 and didnt get MCH yet.the automated number says no future hearing date availible

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Jason Dzubow January 5, 2018 at 7:39 am

The DHS has to file the case with the court to get the case started. Once that happens, the court will schedule you. The delay could also be caused by the court, as some courts are just slow. There is very little you can do about this. You can try to call the court to ask. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Immigration Court. Maybe they can tell you something. Take care, Jason

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Mohammad January 5, 2018 at 9:16 am

I have heart condition the doc says i have to do operation which is life threatning procedure in my case i sm so depresed can i expidite the case no judge is assigned yet arlngton immigration court please advise on this.
Thank you

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Jason Dzubow January 5, 2018 at 6:18 pm

You can try – I wrote about this on April 20, 2017. Maybe that post would help. Good luck, Jason

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Sola January 4, 2018 at 9:02 pm

Hi Jason,

My friend applied for asylum at the Arlington asylum office since 11/20/2017 and she is yet to get receipt notice from USCIS since then. We are thinking that the office may have misplaced her application or notice forwarded to another address. My question is. can we just file another application? Her status expires before the end of this month. Your response will be appreciated.

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Jason Dzubow January 5, 2018 at 7:32 am

If possible, maybe she can go to the Arlington Asylum Office in-person and ask. You can find their contact info and office hours if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator (I think the only time to go is Wednesday morning, but check the website to be sure). If they cannot confirm that the case was filed, she will have to re-file, and give a cover letter explaining that the first filing was lost. Also, make sure it is sent to the correct address, send it by certified mail, and keep a copy of everything that is sent. Finally, she can file a Freedom of Information Act request (form G-639, available at http://www.uscis.govhttp://www.uscis.gov) to get a copy of the first case she filed and any receipts (assuming it was received). This takes several months, so she should do it, but she will have to decide about re-filing sooner than that. Take care, Jason

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Noreen January 4, 2018 at 8:08 pm

Hi. My Asylum case is in NY court. I am a political activist from a country doing struggle for your independent state. My country got thread by the government and i moved motion for early hearing in court. Does it effect my case positively or negative?

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Broken January 4, 2018 at 9:19 pm

He Noreen,
How long did you have to wait after interview to have you case referred to an immigration judge?

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L.F January 4, 2018 at 9:34 pm

Hi Broken
I waited 2 weeks and got refered to the court, and two later i have the date now for Master Hearing in NY

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Broken January 5, 2018 at 6:14 pm

L F,
Thank you for response and good luck to you.

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Celia January 9, 2018 at 10:34 am

L.F., when is your MCH scheduled if you don’t mind me asking? This year?

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Jason Dzubow January 5, 2018 at 7:30 am

Asking for an earlier court date should not affect the outcome of the case. Take care, Jason

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Kalu January 4, 2018 at 12:43 pm

Hi Jason,
Thank you for your informative posts and moral support. I do have a couple of questions in connection with my asylum. I had applied for asylum in March 2014 and was interviewed in April 2017 at the Chicago Center. Since the interview, I have moved to New York.
a) Does the move affect my case (chance of winning and the time it takes)?
b) Which Office is responsible for handling my case ( Chicago or Newark)?
c) It has been more than 8 months since the interview. However I haven’t heard anything from USCIS. Isn’t this too long? What is the average time for hearing the decision after the interview?

Thank you
Kalu

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Jason Dzubow January 5, 2018 at 7:20 am

(a) Probably not. (b) The office that interviewed you – in Chicago. (c) There is no average. You can contact them and inquire about the status of your case. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Also, if you did not update your address, you need to do that (form AR-11, available at http://www.uscis.gov) to be sure you get a copy of anything they mail to you. Take care, Jason

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Kalu January 8, 2018 at 1:32 am

Hi Jason,
Thank you for your response. I have already updated my address and got a confirmation from USCIS regarding the change in my address.

Thank you again
Kalu

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Sara Hope January 5, 2018 at 5:29 pm

Hello Kalu , Chicago office seems to take longer time in issuance of decesions, I had my interview since Feb 2016 and still pending decesion , my lawyer in Chicago told me that during past months he received only 3 decesions out of 56 pending cases. I know how difficult is the journey at this stage but I guess we should keep up the hope. I will let you know regarding any update on Chicago asylum office & I hope we hear positive news from you soon. Take care

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HA January 4, 2018 at 3:03 am

Hi
I have Pending I-485,
I am submitting I-765 as my EAD expires on April,
the current one is A05, do i apply under renewal of A05 or under new C09?
on the question if i did apply for EAD before, do i have to put the one i applied for under C08 or the A05 which was mailed to me without submitting an application?
Thank you

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Jason Dzubow January 4, 2018 at 7:41 am

I do not know your case, so I do not know which category applies to you. You have to check the instruction to the I-765, available at http://www.uscis.gov, and state the category you are applying under. If you had an asylum EAD and now you have an I-485 pending, you only qualify for the automatic extension of the old card if you apply based on asylum status, but you will have to pay the fee for the EAD. On the other hand, if you paid for the I-485, you can get an EAD based on the I-485 by submitting the receipt and you should not have to pay the EAD fee. Take care, Jason

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HA January 4, 2018 at 10:41 pm

Thank you

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rose n January 4, 2018 at 3:00 am

hello Jason,
Happy new year.please can you handle my case for asylum? im in china and i was granted an asylum last month.according to the laws here i cant work, study or live in certain cities. the asylum is only to protect me from deportation. i wrote to the UN IN BEIJING if i they can provide me with a travel document but no response. i really wanna continue my education as most of my family members are in USA and want me to join them. is it possible for me to apply for a travel document from USA? can you handle my case.or what do suggest i should do.? even with the asylum certificate i can rent a house. im just so worried. can you help please. thank you. waiting for your reply.

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Jason Dzubow January 4, 2018 at 7:40 am

I can only assist with cases where the person is in the US. If you would like a consultation, you can email me at jdzubow@dzubowlaw.com to arrange that. Take care, Jason

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rose n January 5, 2018 at 3:52 am

thank you Jason

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Marina January 4, 2018 at 12:52 am

Hi Jason, Happy new year
I will submit my case but my I94 will be expired by next May,
should i submit my case after my i94 be expired ?
because someone tell me if i submit my asylum and in case i make my interview and get refused from officer and all that before my i94 is not expired yet they can Expulsion me from USA so they advise me i should wait to i94 be expired then submit my asylum in order to if they refused my they will transfer me to court, so please advise me, Is it right they can Expulsion me if my i94 still vaild?
*please not that i know many one made them interviews after just 4 month and they took approved.
thanks

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Nyc January 4, 2018 at 1:46 am

I believe your i94 will be expired before your interview
Do you know how long have to wait to be interviewed.
Right now I believe new case today wil wait more than 3years a lot of people applied for asylum last year so many people. That mean you have to be in the line

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Marina January 4, 2018 at 1:50 pm

Nyc you are right but i know some one with his wife he submit his case in jan 2017 and made his interview in april 2017 because that i asked
thanks

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Jason Dzubow January 4, 2018 at 7:34 am

The advice you got is incorrect. You cannot be expelled if you file while your I-94 is valid. You can file at any time. Cases for adults usually take several years (check the Asylum Office Scheduling Bulletin – a link is at right) and if you are denied, you will have to go to Immigration Court. Take care, Jason

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Marina January 4, 2018 at 1:50 pm

thank you jason

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Marina January 4, 2018 at 11:02 pm

sorry jason , i know i can file my case while my i94 is vaild but i talk about if i make my interview while my i94 is vaild and get refused , what they will do ? , assistant lawyer tell me you will get final refused from officer and you should make another case in another state !!
i know someone he was live in bikersfield and he got interview after just 4 month so i asked if i get refused while my i94 still vaild what they will do ?
thanks jason

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Jason Dzubow January 5, 2018 at 7:37 am

If you are still in-status, they will send you a detailed letter explaining why they plan to deny you, and then you have 16 days to respond. If they still deny you, you simply continue your stay here in whatever status you had here. If you wish to seek asylum again, you can re-file (maybe once you are going out of status). The procedure to re-fled is different than the first application, but probably your case will be denied (since it was already denied once) and then you will be sent to court, where you can present the case to a judge. Take care, Jason

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Marina January 5, 2018 at 2:29 pm

thaks jason , god bless you

L.F January 3, 2018 at 11:01 pm

Hi Jason !
I read the article from April 20 2017 about the MH and Inividual Hearing. You wrote there that one thing that can be help for not a to long waiting time is to appear early there … my appointment is at 9 am in the morning. So i was thinking to go more early (before they ate open ) and just to be there the first one waiting on the line, but idk if they gonna let me go inside without my lawyer because I doubt he will come with and wait in line, let’s say from 7 am !!
What’s your suggestion Jason ?
Take care , appreciate

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Jason Dzubow January 4, 2018 at 7:26 am

If your lawyer is not there too, they will normally not let you sign in, and of course, if your lawyer is not there when they call you, you will lose your place in line. So you have to coordinate with the lawyer. Normally, judges give out dates in the order they have them, so if you are the first one in the MCH, you will get a date before the second person. This is not a rule, though, and it may not be true for all judges. Also, it may depend on the case. And even if you are not first, usually there is not a great disparity in the dates, so you might save yourself a few days or weeks, but probably not much more than that. On the other hand, once in awhile, it does make a big difference. Take care, Jason

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Broken January 3, 2018 at 8:38 pm

Hey Jason.
This post left me perplex and now understand why the US government is skeptical about asylum claims. Yet, in the case of your client, I strongly believe that if he had said the truth, he wouldn’t have found himself in hot water. However I have a question related to your post. After your client spends 10 years in prison, will he be deported or he can still remain in the US? Was his case approved or not?

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Jason Dzubow January 3, 2018 at 10:43 pm

I highly doubt he will spend 10 years in prison – that is the maximum possible sentence for the crime (as far as I can tell). I cannot comment on the client, but in general, if such a person is convicted, he would normally be deported at the end of the criminal sentence. However, it is possible that such a person could be convicted criminally but still qualify for some type of relief (Withholding of Removal or Torture Convention) and then they might be able to stay in the US. The result would be ironic, but it is theoretically possible. Take care, Jason

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Broken January 4, 2018 at 12:29 pm

You are out of the world Jason. I have another question that has just crossed my mind. When I applied for asylum I checked the box where it is stated if I wanted to apply for Withholding of Removal or Torture Convention to which I said yes. Does it mean that if I am not granted asylum, I can still qualify to either of them? And how does it work? is it part of asylum or it is different?

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Jason Dzubow January 5, 2018 at 7:10 am

These types of relief are only available in Immigration Court, so for an asylum office case, either you win asylum or get sent to court. In court, you can get asylum (the best form of relief), withholding, or Torture Convention relief, depending on the case. Take care, Jason

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Asylum seeker January 3, 2018 at 5:16 pm

How u can check with your asylum office that they put ur case on short list or not???n are the offices moving on as they show in the bulletin

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Jason Dzubow January 3, 2018 at 10:37 pm

The only way to know if they put you on the short list is to contact the local office 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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Koss D kaf January 3, 2018 at 1:22 pm

Hi Jason,
I’m asylum applicant, I filled my application by myself since January 2016. November 2017 I got New evidence from my country and choose to complete my application with the evidence in that case I want to lawer to help me fill out the new evidence before they schedule my interview.
Please read what the lawer told me: “Generally, it is better to submit any supplemental evidence at the asylum interview to avoid the possibility that the office will not match the new submission with the original file……… We will be happy to re-visit the issue at the end of 2018 when your case will likely be scheduled for an interview”

Is it that right ?
I think I should fill the new evidence as soon as possible before the schedule my interview.

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Jason Dzubow January 3, 2018 at 10:35 pm

I previously responded to this. Take care, Jason

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Thomas January 3, 2018 at 12:23 pm

Something seems very weird about this case. There has to be more to the story. Usually if a person lies, he will certainly suffer the consequences (such as having their requested benefit denied, and possibly be summoned to court for prosecution – if needed.) The department of homeland security, namely USCIS and ICE very much have the resources and the legal authority to track down alleged immigration violators and often make sure justice is servered. Even in the more serious cases where DHS wants to know why a person visited questionable countries such as Saudi Arabia at some point in their life, or even have substantial evidence that a person is allegedly is a terrorist, such people set off a TRIG and end up in the never ending black hole of “security checks.” But this is part of their procedure. What I don’t understand is that if there are certain steps DHS takes in order to stop alleged violators and people with malicious terrorist tendencies, why would they instead choose to involve the FBI? DHS has a “carte blanche” to do what ever, so obviously the case involves much more to reach the threshold that is beyond DHS’s jurisdiction, thus involving the FBI. I might be wrong, it might be Trump flexing his muscles, but it is certainly something to keep an eye on.

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Oleg January 3, 2018 at 6:39 pm

I agree there might be more to the case. I absolutely don’t condone or support lying but to put it in perspective lying isn’t restricted to asylum cases. People have been lying about fake marriages, shady employee green card petitions, lying on visitor visas etc. When they get caught their petitions are denied and they may be banned from entry. However FBI seldom gets involved unless there is way more to the story. Also with the open feud that Trump has with FBI, it makes it more unlikely that he uses them for such purposes. Mostly DHS has been dealing with such cases

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Jason Dzubow January 3, 2018 at 10:40 pm

I think the fraud unit at USCIS refers such cases to the FBI when it believes there is a lie and that the lie may be a case that can be prosecuted. In the above example, the asylum office had evidence that the client lied about being in Country B, and so I think they referred the case to the FBI, which decided to prosecute. I think this is pretty normal, even if it is also pretty rare. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow January 3, 2018 at 10:32 pm

I agree that we will have to keep an eye on immigration prosecutions. It is a bit ironic that TRIG cases get put on hold forever whereas a case like this end up in criminal court. Maybe it is more a comment on how fraudulent the TRIG bar is that people are rarely prosecuted for “material support” of terrorism, but people are sometimes prosecuted for that too. Take care, Jason

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Aylum Seeker January 4, 2018 at 10:33 am

Hi Jason,

i had my interview 5 months ago wihout any decision till now, when i called the office (Boston Office) few days ago they informed that their office is a new one and they have a long process to send decision out and usually they don’t send decision before 4 months.

my question if we send them inquiry, do they mention clearly whether it’s pending for security check or it was referred to the Head Quarter?

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Jason Dzubow January 5, 2018 at 7:17 am

Sometimes they give you info about the reason for the delay, but usually, they do not. There is not a lot you can do about this, and sending inquiries does not really do anything. You can inquire every few months, as it doesn’t really hurt, but it rarely helps. Take care, Jason

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Sara January 9, 2018 at 10:39 am

{{{Carlton Dance}}}

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Jason Dzubow January 9, 2018 at 6:52 pm

The best guide is to check the Asylum Office Scheduling Bulletin – a link is at right. In my experience, this is pretty accurate. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow January 10, 2018 at 6:37 pm

We have had many people who lived in different Gulf countries and had “residency.” None of them was ever considered firmly resettled, and there are website that provide details about the immigration laws of these countries and how they do not accept refugees. You might want to include some such evidence with your asylum case, but we have not had a problem for any of our clients who lived in the Gulf. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow January 15, 2018 at 8:52 pm

I doubt there would be a problem, since there was never an offer of permanent status. However, the US government might want to know why the person did not seek asylum in that country. Take care, Jason

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