Waiting Is the Hardest Part

by Jason Dzubow on January 9, 2018

The asylum backlog–both in court and at the asylum office–is years long. Hundreds of thousands of applicants are waiting, seemingly forever, to present their cases and to receive decisions. Many of these people are separated from children and spouses. Even for those who are not separated from family, the lengthy waits and uncertain outcome can have a serious psychological impact. Indeed, the human tragedy of the asylum backlog is apparent to anyone involved with the system.

Some liminal spaces are more fun than others.

A recent article by Professor Bridget M. Haas, Citizens-in-Waiting, Deportees-in-Waiting, Power, Temporality, and Suffering in the U.S. Asylum System, helps quantify the psychological suffering of those who wait. Prof. Haas followed 26 asylum seekers from seven countries between 2009 and 2012. Only four of the study participants received asylum from the Asylum Office. Twenty-two were referred to court, and the majority of those had their asylum cases denied. Seven of Prof. Haas’s subjects left the U.S. or were deported during the period of her study.

The Professor’s findings largely comport with what you might expect–

For asylum seekers, my data demonstrate that the liminality associated with asylum—of being “betwixt and between” a particular status or identity—is best understood not as a time of transition but rather as a time of rupture, as “a discontinuity of subjective time, in which powerful forces operate to change perceptions of time, space, and personal values.” The discontinuity wrought by asylum-seeking manifests as suspended life.

In other words, the uncertainty of the waiting period leaves asylum applicants unable to move forward with their lives. They are literally stuck waiting. The problem seems to be compounded by the disconnect between asylum seekers’ expectations and the reality of the asylum process—

Most participants had expected the asylum process to last “a couple of days” or “a matter of weeks.” That the process… would be such an arduous and protracted one was beyond their imaginations. Before filing an asylum application… participants had not conceived of a scenario in which their stories and personal histories would be denied credibility or be deemed undeserving of protection…. Ultimately, the disjuncture between expectations of treatment in the United States and the reality they faced was a source of confusion and distress for asylum seekers.

Prof. Haas characterizes the asylum waiting period as one of “existential limbo” where “the very viability of their lives [is] in a state of profound uncertainty.” This manifests in different ways, including “extreme anxiety,” “powerlessness,” and even suicidal thoughts. Asylum applicants had a “sense of being beaten down” by the process. They felt “hopelessness, despair, and futility.” Many felt traumatized by the wait, and “experienced waiting itself… as a form of violence,” which “inflict[ed] enduring psychic distress.” Also, “waiting in limbo was understood as traumatic because of the life-and-death stakes it inhered for asylum seekers and the profound anxiety this produced.”

The state of limbo often prevents asylum seekers from “taking future-oriented actions,” such as furthering their education, because of a “sense that these actions would be done in vain if [they] were to be deported.”

All this rings true for me. I observe my clients’ suffering first hand, and in some cases–especially for those separated from young children–the damage caused by the asylum process can be worse than the harm caused by the persecution.

Prof. Haas writes about her subjects’ coping methods. She notes that “asylum seekers often engaged in activities that offered a distraction from the pain of waiting.” “Other asylum seekers attempted to resist suffering through the refusal to acknowledge the present state of limbo.” Still others turn to their religion for a sense of hope.

These observations align with how I see my clients coping. I also think it is helpful to try to exert some control over the situation. For example, asylum seekers can attempt to expedite their cases. Even if this does not succeed, it provides an avenue for action, which may be better than passively waiting. Asylum seekers can also try to overcome the inertia of limbo by “taking future-oriented actions,” even if that is difficult: Take a class, go to therapy, buy a house, start a family. In a case of giving advice that I probably could not accept myself, I advise my clients to live as if they will be staying here permanently. It’s not easy, but it beats the alternative (of going insane).

Finally, Prof. Haas’s article has prompted me to think about the concept of “liminality” in asylum. The word “liminal” derives from the Latin “limen,” meaning “threshold” or doorway. It refers to the in-between times and places in life.

In Judaism, and I imagine in many other religions, liminal spaces are often viewed as holy. We place a mezuzah (a decorative case containing verses from the Torah) in the doorway of our home. We get married under a chuppah (a temporary canopy that symbolizes the new home the couple will create). We Jews spent 40 years wandering the dessert in order to transform from slaves to free people. And of course, the Bar or Bat Mitzvah marks the traditional transition from child to adult.

Who are these rituals for? And how do they help? Prior to the Exodus, when G-d decided to kill the first born sons of Egypt, G-d instructed the Jews to place blood on their door posts, so the Angel of Death would pass over their homes. One rabbinic discourse explores whether the blood was on the outside or the inside of the doors. Was it meant for G-d, the Egyptians or the Jews? I like the idea that the blood was on the inside of the door, that it was meant to remind the Jewish people of why we were being spared, and of the sacrifice that all Egyptians were making for our freedom. I think there is value in such reminders.

Perhaps by specifically noting these liminal times as transitory, and by recognizing their transformative nature, we can more easily endure the waiting. Whether it is even possible to view the asylum wait time in these terms, I do not know. But one way or another, this period will end. Each of us has only so much control over our own destinies. For asylum seekers, the future is more uncertain than for many others. We are all left to do our best in the time that we have. Put another way, we are all precarious fiddlers on the roof, and so we might as well play the best song that we can.

{ 166 comments… read them below or add one }

solxp January 15, 2018 at 6:35 pm

Hi Jason and everyone here!

This Blog has been very helpful to me, Jason has answered my questions and also reading other people experience in the same situation also did help so today I am sharing mine 🙂

I applied in Oct 2015 to Newark office
got my 1st EAD in July 2016
moved my case to San Francisco in June 2017
got my 2nd EAD in Nov 2017
interviewed by San Francisco in Jan 2018

now I am waiting once more, the interview went well (at least by my evaluation) the result? only God knows. If I have to give one advice it would be never lie in your interview and case, if you have discrepancies in your submitted document point it out and let them know why it happened (even saying I didn’t remember the exact information is fine in some cases)

Once more Thank you Jason and anyone who shares here and Good Luck!

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Manjit January 15, 2018 at 9:52 pm

Hi solxp.First of all good luck!I applied in newark on oct 2015 and moved california on april 2017.I haven’t got Interview yet,did you try it on short list?Can you please update

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Solxp January 16, 2018 at 1:16 am

Hi Manjit,
thank you for your best wish, please make sure you did the following:

1. put your new zip code in the asylum office locator and find out which office is going to take your case because CA is handled by San Francisco and Los Angeles offices
2. AR-11 is not enough for address change you have to get confirmation from both offices especially from the receiving office. email them or call.

3. if you have already done the above contact them and ask. Good Luck!

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Jason Dzubow January 16, 2018 at 7:40 am

Thank you for sharing, Jason

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Beth January 15, 2018 at 3:16 pm

Dear Jason,
Thank you for your blog. As an immigration attorney (who rarely sees asylum cases) I appreciate your blog. This one was especially meaningful, “Perhaps by specifically noting these liminal times as transitory, and by recognizing their transformative nature, we can more easily endure the waiting.” Would make a great d’var torah for parashat B’shalach. Yasher Koach!

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Jason Dzubow January 16, 2018 at 7:39 am

Thank you, though these days most of my comments involve “oy gevalt” or something along those lines. Take care, Jason

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Ali January 15, 2018 at 2:56 pm

Jason good morning

I am a dependent person (wife) of the person who applied for asylum in California. Both of us are from Russia. When we filed our application, I was indicated as a dependent person of my spouse. Unfortunately, we have to get divorced. We married in Russia. We need to go to Russian consulate and finalize divorce. When we divorce, I feel that I will not benefit from my spouse application and lose any chance to continue using my EAD etc. So basically when I divorce I will fall out of status and become illegal in the USA. I decided to file my own asylum application. Do you think it is the right step? I have several cases of prosecution in Russia. And when can I send my application? Before divorce or while we are married? Now we do not live together and do not talk at all. Have you had any chance to deal with such situation? Thank you.

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Jason Dzubow January 15, 2018 at 8:57 pm

You can file your own case, and it is probably best to do it before the divorce. One reason for this is that a person is required to file for asylum within one year of arriving. If it is more than one year for you, there is an exception to that rule – you had an asylum case pending. But once you are divorced, you no longer have a case pending, and so the one-year rule could be a factor. I will post a blog post on that issue in the next week or two. Another reason to file sooner is to get the EAD, since you will now have to wait 5 months before filing. The procedure to file for you is different than for a person who is filing the first time. Check the I-589 instructions or contact the asylum office to ask about the procedure (or better yet, talk to a lawyer). You can find the asylum office contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

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A.Seeker January 14, 2018 at 5:06 pm

Hello Jason
I have been reading this blog for a little while.
There”s nothing stressful for asylum seekers than wairing something you ll never knew when it ll come.Anxiety, living a part from family etc.That add up to Trump immigration politics decrease more and more hope. He needs asylum seekers from” Norway” that resume all about this administration tiaras us as asylum seekers. Most probably asylum officers/judges will hide behind Trump wishes to incorrectly process our cases and denie most of the applications. What you thought, what do you suggest us , could you please write an article of how will Trump affect the asylum cases especially on rate of approval/denial. If you have some figures of asylum granted in 2017 after Trump took office please share to give us idea of how worse thing have been going since then
Thanks

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Jason Dzubow January 15, 2018 at 7:53 am

I do not think there have been any big changes in grant rates since President Trump came to office. Things are getting more difficult across the board, but immigration court has been less affected than USCIS (at least so far as I have seen). You can see some statistics about this if you Google “TRAC Immigration”. I also think there is a reaction against Trump’s policies, especially his Administration’s desire to limit due process. I wrote a bit about that on December 19, 2017. Take care, Jason

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Josh January 14, 2018 at 4:14 pm

Hey Jason,
My case was referred to the court on July 2018 (MCH), in Los angels.
1. When do you think my individual hearing will be? Based on your experience in California court system.
2. On the MCH court day how do I expedite the case, what are the options? Do I need to file a motion?
3, is it possible to apply for Advanced Parole or a RTD? While I’m on cour Proceedings?

Thank you, for everything sir.

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Jason Dzubow January 15, 2018 at 7:48 am

1 – I have no idea, as it depends on the judge. You should hire a lawyer to help you, and the lawyer should be able to give you an idea about the timing. 2 – What happens depends on your case, but normally, you only have a few minutes with the judge and you schedule the final, individual hearing, where you will present your case. 3 – You cannot do either of those things. If you leave the US while your case is pending, you will have deported yourself and you cannot return. Take care, Jason

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Mo January 14, 2018 at 3:41 am

Hi Jason,
I received l797 for my kids l730 application with my first name missed.
I wrote an letter to Nerbradca center with the corrected 730 form. They send my another 797 with different receipt number,
Is it ok or should they only update the previous receipt number?
I do not want to make it two cases, what shall I do?
I appreciate your answer.
Regards

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Jason Dzubow January 15, 2018 at 7:37 am

I am not sure why you have a second receipt number. It may not make a difference, and if the case is approved, you would use whatever case number is on the approval. However, you may want to call USCIS to ask about this. You can find their number at http://www.uscis.gov. If things do not progress normally, you may want to talk to a lawyer for help. Take care, Jason

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asylee January 14, 2018 at 1:15 am

Hi Jason.
Thanks A lot for you help to the community.
i just have a question , i came to the US on a visitor visa “b1/b2”
applied for asylum and was granted asylum, i still dont have or even apply for my gc yet waiting for the 1 year and now applying for my RTD , when they ask for the class of admission is it gonna be “asylee” which is my status now or should i write the class of admission b1/b2 which is the status i got when i was admitted into this country , iam confused
Thanks A lot

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Jason Dzubow January 15, 2018 at 7:32 am

I can’t really answer specific questions like this, as I am not familiar with your case. If they want to know about when you got here, then you would list your visa type that you used to enter. If they want to know your current status, then you could list that – presumably asylum, but you need to look at the question to see exactly what they are asking. Take care, Jason

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lulu January 14, 2018 at 12:39 am

god’s delay is not his denial, be faithful and be patient everybody!

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YC January 13, 2018 at 7:17 pm

Hi Jason and everyone. What TYPE of jobs should my wife and I apply for in our pending situation? No AO interview yet and even with EAD and SSN in the meantime unable to find work. Any insight is greatly appreciated especially if you have a job now that could pay off your rent and daily needs. Thank you and hope someone guides us.

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Tina January 13, 2018 at 11:46 pm

What state are you at?

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YC January 14, 2018 at 1:59 am

California.

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Tina January 16, 2018 at 12:06 am

I see. I am not in california and have to contacts.

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lulu January 14, 2018 at 12:40 am

how about uber? do some business with amazon?

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YC January 14, 2018 at 2:00 am

No license yet, no car. Heard of people doing online biz with Amazon but not sure if we will earn decently from it.

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Nyc January 14, 2018 at 10:23 am

Restaurant

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YC January 14, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Been trying and will try again.

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Jason Dzubow January 14, 2018 at 12:21 pm

You are eligible to work any place that will hire you – but usually, you cannot work for the federal government. You can also start your own business, if that is something you are interested in. Take care, Jason

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YC January 14, 2018 at 3:30 pm

Thank you for your reply Jason. The problem is even with qualifications it is still hard to secure a normal job, had to choose very low paying jobs and no replies from the company.

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Scopa January 14, 2018 at 11:21 pm

Try security jobs; airport jobs, restaurant, cleaning; group home caring for needy people—- there are a lot of low skill jobs. It doesnt matter whether you a degree or Masters in your home country. Here you are in different situation so as darwin said you have to fit with the situation to survive. That was my motto when I started my first job ofcourse in six months I was doing better job with better pay; Good luck!!

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Jason Dzubow January 15, 2018 at 7:46 am

This is pretty normal. I remember (years ago) working with a refugee from the Soviet Union – he had designed the radar system for the USSR’s main strategic nuclear bomber. In the US, he was working at a machine shop. Another guy I worked with was the Minster of Finance for the Ethiopian army. In the US, he was a parking garage worker. It is not easy, but with time, people who come here can make progress and move forward with their lives. Take care, Jason

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YC January 14, 2018 at 3:40 pm

Perhaps anyone could point me to the right web name to apply online and submit resume? I used Indeed and so far nothing. Thank you again.

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Sumaya January 14, 2018 at 5:37 pm

I suggest you start with anything lawful job with any amount, though it might be hard work. As less is way much and much better then nothing. At least it keeps u busy. Your qualification may needs long way to be equal with American standard. I know you might be qualified for sure, but you know as you may take long to be US citizen, the same your qualification.
But it will come to truth. You will succeed more and just get started. It is my personal experience and suggestion to you.

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Tina January 16, 2018 at 12:17 am

Try call center jobs on indeed, especially the inbound ones. You can also train as a certified nursing assistant. Start to finish, between 7 to 14 days. There are plenty of cna jobs everywhere. Something to pull you off the floor.Goodluck!

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Hopless January 13, 2018 at 5:10 pm

Hi Jason,
Than you for the informative posts. I had my asylum interview in summer of 2014, still no decision. I started to think about other routes to GC, have no status now other than ‘pending asylum’. I wanted to get GC via my work, but I guess I need a status for that (please correct me) ?!. So I applied for TPS, now 10 months pending TPS, I inquired about the application and they said “TPS application decision is pending my ‘asylum decision’ ! Is that usual ? I thought TPS applications are not related to asylum applications ! Please let me know.

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Jason Dzubow January 14, 2018 at 12:20 pm

You may be able to get a GC based on your job, but if you are now out of status (except for pending asylum), you would need to leave the US to do that, and that may or may not be possible. Talk to a lawyer before you start the process, to make sure you can finish the process (and be careful – too many lawyer are willing to start the process and take your money, but you cannot get the GC, so make sure they tell you whether you can finish the entire process and get the GC – and I would get that in writing from them). As for the TPD delay, I am not sure why a pending asylum case would delay TPS. I have not heard about that. Maybe it is worth calling USCIS or going in person to ask – you can find their phone number or make an appointment at http://www.uscis.gov. Take care, Jason

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Mynn January 12, 2018 at 6:03 pm

Hello Jason,

I applied for asylum in 2015 and was referred to immigration court after interview in November 2017.
In May 2017 I was among those selected for DV 2018 Lottery and am expecting interview in March as I have applied for adjustment of Status.
– Does the referral of my case to an immigration court affect my Diversity Lottery interview?
– While one has their case referred to an immigration court, what is their status? Is it still asylum pending or on deportation proceedings or which is it?
– In case am successful with the DV process can one proceed to terminate the case in court?
– Finally, Could I have postponed the asylum interview until I was over with the diversity visa interview? Could I have used the Diversity Visa selection as grounds to postpone the asylum visa until am done?

Kindly help and thank you

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santon January 12, 2018 at 6:22 pm

Hi Mynn,
Can you share your time line please.
Date and place you submit your asylum application.

Thanks.

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Sara January 13, 2018 at 1:53 am

Hi Mynn,
Jason wrote about DV and asylum in this blog post:
http://www.asylumist.com/2015/10/05/asylum-and-the-dv-lottery-and-dv-lottery-scams/
I would read this until he gets back to you on your questions.
By the way, for your final question, I don’t think that there was a way for you to postpone your interview. You could have rescheduled it after providing a good reason, and I don’t think DV would have been a good one so I wouldn’t be beating myself up over going to the interview on time if I were you (I think you did the right thing).
Good luck.

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Nyc January 13, 2018 at 2:08 am

You will not get a GC by DV lottory. Because you are out of status. Unfortunately

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Nyc January 13, 2018 at 2:08 am

You do not have status to adjust

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Jason Dzubow January 14, 2018 at 12:06 pm

I wrote about asylum and the DV lottery on October 5, 2015 – maybe that would help. The short answer is that, if you are now in court, you have no immigration status, and so the only way to get a GC based on the lottery is to leave the US. At best, this is difficult, especially since leaving while your court case is pending will result in a deportation order and you will be bared from returning here. It may even be impossible, depending on the case. You can talk to a lawyer about this possibility, and maybe there is a path for you, but in most cases, the DV lottery will not help you at this point. But talk to a lawyer to see if there might be a way. Take care, Jason

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Arifin January 12, 2018 at 4:55 pm

Dear Jason,
We are very grateful for your informative post and moral support to us. I’ve a question, Do traffic infractions show up on asylum interview or immigration background check ? Also, do traffic violations affect on my asylum case? I appreciate your help. Thanks.

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Jason Dzubow January 14, 2018 at 12:01 pm

They could – especially if it is a DUI or reckless driving (if you have one of these, you need to talk to a lawyer). You should assume that the Asylum Office will know about all such infractions, and you should not try to cover them up. For the most part, tickets have no effect on an asylum case. But lying about getting a ticket could have an effect, so make sure you inform the Asylum Office about them. Take care, Jason

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celia January 12, 2018 at 11:38 am

Hi Jason,

When uscis makes a mistake on your Refuge Travel Document (incorrect issuance date- according to the document my RTD last 3 months). What is the procedure to make a correction? How long can it take? and do I have to pay some more fees? I already receive the RTD and bought the flight ticket.

Thank you,
Regards,

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Jason Dzubow January 14, 2018 at 11:53 am

I know of no easy way to fix this, and I am not even sure it is a mistake, given that they are changing a log of their procedures for the worse. You can try calling USCIS or going in person to ask, and see what they say. You can find their phone number or make an appointment at http://www.uscis.gov. If you learn anything, please let us know. Thank you, Jason

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celia January 14, 2018 at 1:35 pm

I was told to write a letter explaining the problem along with sending back the RTD for review. Indeed, according to my filling date and notices, the expiration date, which is Dec.2018, is correct, but the problem comes from the date issue, which is Sept2018 (8 months from now). How could that be possible?
If it is an error, and I hope it is, the website says this case is eligible for expedition. So, finger crossed!

Thank you, Jason!

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Jason Dzubow January 15, 2018 at 7:40 am

There are increasing numbers of mistakes coming from USCIS, so maybe this is just an error and they will fix it. Let us know what happens. Thank you, Jason

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Ten January 12, 2018 at 11:17 am

Hi Jason,
I have been waiting for asylum decision for more than three years now after my interview in 2014. I have visited the local asylum office numerous times over the past years with no luck so far. I am not given clear reason for the delay and expected time for a decision to come. Every time they explain that it is under review and will inform me when they have taken a decision. I have my family separated including a very young child all these years. I am helpless and know not what to do. Can you advise me on what can I do other than hopelessly going to the walk-in inquiries to the local asylum office? Can I seek legal help?

Thank you so much in advance.
Best,

T

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Jason Dzubow January 14, 2018 at 11:51 am

Unfortunately, many people are facing this problem and there is not a lot that you can do. Besides contacting the asylum office and informing them of the reason for needing a decision urgently, you can contact the USCIS Ombudsman Office – a link is at right. They can sometimes help with a delayed case. After that, you can try a mandamus lawsuit to force the Asylum Office to make a decision – talk to a lawyer about that. Also, you might think about Advance Parole to try to visit your family in a third country. I wrote about that on September 11, 2017. Take care, Jason

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Ten January 14, 2018 at 2:46 pm

Hi Jason,
Thanks so much for your support and prompt free expert advise to me and everyone who come to you. Your good work is deeply appreciated.
.
I did gto Ombudsman Office once, they directed me to local asylum Office. But I am going to go there again. Another question I have is if Mandamus lawsuit is common practice or have you ever filed a Mandamus lawsuit ffor your client (asylum)? Did it work? . Would it not have an adverse effect on their decision for me? Would it anger the Office and give them a reason to give a negative decision for my case and send to immigration court which would be another indefinite wait? Please advise.
Lastly, I am in San Francisco Bay Area. Can you recommend any lawyer in the area
Best,

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Jason Dzubow January 15, 2018 at 7:44 am

I have not done a mandamus lawsuit. Mostly, because I am too busy to do such a case. I have seen it done, and it can be effective. In general, I do not think it causes a negative response. However, if the security background check is not finished, and cannot be completed, the Asylum Office may just deny the case (since they cannot approve it until the check is complete, and they do not have full control over completing the background check – other agencies are involved). So in that sense, there is some risk. But it might be better to go to court than to wait forever for the Asylum Office. As for a lawyer, I do not have someone there to recommend. Take care, Jason

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TJyde January 11, 2018 at 11:05 pm

Dear Jason,
I will like to ask a question on my first EAD submission.
I submitted my I-765 with my wife own and one for my little boy so as to get the SSN, now i am able to track my son application using my case status and was unable to track mine and that of my wife own. What can i do to that Jason? Thanks hope to hear from you

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Jason Dzubow January 12, 2018 at 7:01 am

You should be able to track it using the receipt number. If not, maybe you want to call USCIS to ask. You can find their phone number at http://www.uscis.gov. But if you have received the receipt, the case should be processing. Take care, Jason

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Joe January 13, 2018 at 1:17 am

TJyde I had the same exact experience , they will issue the work permit and ssn of your child first , as children have no serious back ground checks, then subsequently yours and that of your wife will follow , so do not worry 60 days after submission Check again . I summited October 25th and just got mine in the mail today January 12th 2018 . My daughter but hers approved in November 2017 .

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Sara January 13, 2018 at 1:43 am

Mine actually took the shortest time round one of EAD applications when I applied with my husband and daughter (took a little over a month but that was in 2015). My daughter’s was actually delayed, but then again toddlers are super shady so maybe her background checks were the reason.

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Tina January 13, 2018 at 11:51 pm

😂😂

TJyde January 13, 2018 at 1:57 am

Thanks Joe really appreciate the information.

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Jamie January 11, 2018 at 5:59 pm

Hi Jason,

1. Can someone who got a GC through asylum apply for permanent resident in another country without losing the US GC?

2. Are there any consequences for asylees/GC holders through asylum studying in another country?

Thanks as usual for your detailed responses.

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Jason Dzubow January 11, 2018 at 6:43 pm

1 – I think that would be fine, but I am not 100% sure, and so I would recommend you have a lawyer research it before you move forward. 2 – That should be no problem as long as you maintain your GC by returning to the US in time and/or having a re-entry permit or refugee travel document. Take care, Jason

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Jamie January 12, 2018 at 10:25 am

Thank you for your response, Jason. Appreciate it.

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George January 11, 2018 at 3:58 pm

Hi Jason
Great article as always !
I have 2 questions, iam an asylee and didnt apply for my green card yet, regarding the RTD , when they ask me about the purpose of the trip , do i have to list a detailed description or just the main purpose ? And for the fees , do i issue a single check for the total fee”application fee+ biometrics fees “ or 2 check ? 1 check for each fee.
Thanks A lot

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Jason Dzubow January 11, 2018 at 6:38 pm

For the purpose, we usually say something short, like – I am going to visit my cousin in France. As for the fees, we usually send one check with both fees, but we are starting to change that practice. That way, if they do not need the biometric fee, they can just return the check. Take care, Jason

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Jamie January 11, 2018 at 1:57 pm

Jason,

This is a very good article!

I feel like the psychologist’s findings best encapsulate what I experience(d): The interminable feeling of despair and hopelessness, the constant thought of an existential threat to my very existence or survival, preoccupation with suicidal ideation, a lack of motivation to further my studies, buy a home, etc. It feels like there is something permanently hanging over my head that I just simply can’t move or move away from.

What is rather strange, for me, and I suspect that this is probably attributable to the current political climate and residual effects, is that before I was granted asylum I always felt like a grant of asylum would give me some kind of respite from the feelings and thoughts I have/had. However, though the feelings and thoughts after the grant of asylum are a little bit more fleeting, I find that they are usually more intense and debilitating.

I try to cope by being a apart of groups that share the same immutable characteristics like me, or experience the same challenges as me. Like someone else suggested, volunteering, if you are not employment eligible yet, and exercising are very good coping mechanisms. Counseling is good but not many states/cities have counselors who readily available or are willing to provide their services at a reduced rate or for free. I would suggest that you reach out to your local non-profit organizations.

I have already concluded that this organization is going to come after EVERYONE who isn’t citizen; so I feel like we should be prepared and not necessarily feel protected by whatever status we have managed to acquire (except if you are citizen). From all accounts, and from my vintage point, they look like they (the current administration) are prepared to fight tooth and nail to prevent legal migration to the US. This is not to say we aren’t supposed to live our lives free from what some may describe as captivity and mental anguish, but I feel like more needs to be done to stop an administration that is on a trajectory that seeks to destroy peoples’ lives because they are pandering to a base that is obviously xenophobic to people who are from countries that are predominantly black or brown.

My question is: What can we do as a group of people who share common characteristics and have certain things in common?

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Jason Dzubow January 11, 2018 at 6:37 pm

Thank you for sharing this. I think there are lingering affects from the asylum process and also from the current hostile and xenophobic (and irrational) environment. I wrote something related to that on July 12, 2017. There are many organizations advocating for immigrants rights. To some extent, the Trump Administration has galvanized these groups. I do think finding such groups and contacting them is a good way to stay engaged and it may be therapeutic. And, it may even accomplish something. Take care, Jason

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Ali January 11, 2018 at 1:32 pm

Can I update you guys on the situation with fingerprint notice delays in California? The thing is that I waited for fingerprint notice for record 7 months! I recently revealed that you can email your local asylum office and indicate all information (such as you name, A-number, receipt number and your address) and ask them if they could send such notice by email? This thing worked for me and I have got that notice and got fingerprinted recently. So the advice is (1) look for an email of your local asylum office; (2) email them requesting to send the fingerprint notice and (3) get your fingerprint notice eventually. You do not need to travel to your asylum office in person because sometimes you are stuck at work and virtually have no weekends. Sometimes asylum offices are very far from your home. That is why emailing and inquiring helps. This practice worked in Southern California, I do not know if it will work in other places, but give it a try!

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Jason Dzubow January 11, 2018 at 6:31 pm

I had not heard of this, but it may be worth a try – Thank you for sharing, Jason

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Zamir January 11, 2018 at 1:21 pm

Hello Jason

I am a student at one of NY universities and filed for asylum recently. I have an f1 visa. After I filed for asylum, 1 month has elapsed. I have got a call from the university and they are saying on the phone that since I do not maintain my F1 status there is a danger of me getting deported. I know that deportation is a complicated procedure and I need to go to interview first, then if they reject me, the second stage is Immigration Court and only there the judge will decide if I should be deported. Tuition fee is very expensive and I temporarily terminated my course of study and went working. You know it is expensive to pay rent and bills in NY. I had no choice. Therefore I am asking whether I am required to maintain my F1 status after I filed for asylum? Is it mandatory? And what are the risks of deportation? Can the university intimidate me? I am aware of the cases in LA when students failing to maintain status F1 have been looked for by ICE officers. To save their life in the US those students filed for asylum. In my case asylum application is genuine and I don’t know why those university officers are so angry at me. Thank you Sir and have a good working week.

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Jason Dzubow January 11, 2018 at 6:26 pm

You have a right to file for asylum and to have your case heard. You cannot legally be deported, and generally, people who have filed asylum are not detained (I wrote about this on May 3, 2017). You do not have to continue in school and you are lawfully allowed to remain here based on the asylum application. You may want to talk to the school to explain to them and see what they will do – probably they will report your absence to USCIS, but this should not result in arrest and cannot result in deportation without due process. Take care, Jason

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Basel January 11, 2018 at 10:20 am

Jason,

I hope this message finds you well.

I filed my Asylum case, Arlington office, November 2015.
I applied to Short List in Feb 2016. I went to Arlington Asylum office yesterday to get an update on my status on the short list, the officer said they don’t tell me where are they with the short list, however, she can check my name if it is on the short list or not. The result was: my name is not on the short list, i told her i applied two years ago and the response was that they are human and mistakes happen.

These kind of mistake are effecting people lives and psychology and most probably if i am on the short list i have an interview already. i checked my papers and i still have the stamped short list application with me. i will provide it to them to put me back on it.

My questions:
1. Can i do anything other than getting my name back on the short list since they did a big mistake?

2. How can i know where are they with the Short List? i.e. if i applied for it in Feb 2016 would i have an interview already?

Thank you in advance.

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Jason Dzubow January 11, 2018 at 6:19 pm

There seems to be a lot of mistakes at that office. We had an interview today and the officer never received the file (which was submitted and date-stamped in June). The same thing happened to a case yesterday that my lawyer-friend did. They are trying to move to fast, and it is affecting the quality. Hopefully, they will get things moving more smoothly soon. 1 – You can do that and you can also try to expedite. I wrote about that on March 30, 2017. 2 – Unless they tell you, there is no easy way to know. Maybe if you know someone else on the list and that person gets an interview, you can get an idea. Take care, Jason

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Asylee seeker January 11, 2018 at 8:32 am

Hi Jason,

it’s been more than 4 months I’ve been waiting for my interview decision. I gather the decision would be positive, otherwise it wouldn’t take so much time. what do you think?
I’m from 7 countries

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Sara January 11, 2018 at 8:41 am

Hi,
Based on Jason’s previous answers to this question and people’s experiences on this blog, the length of the wait is not an indicator of whether or not your decision will be positive.
Hope you get it soon.

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Jason Dzubow January 11, 2018 at 6:12 pm

I think there is not much connection between the wait time and the result, so I do not take that as a good or bad sign. You can contact the asylum office and inquire about the case. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

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Clara January 11, 2018 at 6:04 am

Hi Jason,
I have my pending asylum case under the LA asylum office. I filled my case on December 2014, but I know one person who submitted his file on January 2015, he is having his interview this week but I didn’t receive any letters from USCIS yet regarding interview. Do you have any idea what’s going on? I also know few people those who filed their case before March 2014, they also didn’t get any call for interviews. Through website it showing that they did up to October 2014. Then why they didn’t get any call for interviews? Do you have any idea what they should do?? I need your suggestions, what should I do if I don’t get my interview call according to the affirmative asylum bulletin?

Thanks
CLARA

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Clara January 11, 2018 at 6:09 am

Hi Jason,
I have my pending asylum case under the LA asylum office. I filled my case on December 2014, but I know one person who submitted his file on January 2015, he is having his interview this week but I didn’t receive any letters from USCIS yet regarding interview. Do you have any idea what’s going on? I also know few people those who filed their case before March 2014, they also didn’t get any call for interviews. Through website it showing that they did up to October 2014. Then why they didn’t get any call for interviews? Do you have any idea what they should do?? I need your suggestions, what should I do if I don’t get my interview call according to the affirmative asylum bulletin?

If anyone here under the LA asylum office, having the same experience, would you please share.

Thanks
CLARA

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Jason Dzubow January 11, 2018 at 7:38 am

Most times when people supposedly get an early interview, there is an explanation that they are not telling you – they expedited or put their name on a short list, or maybe they actually filed earlier than they are saying because they do not remember the filing date. But there may also be some anomalies. In any case, the Asylum Office Scheduling Bulletin is the only real way to check (a link is at right) and if your filing date has passed on that, you can contact the office and 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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Sara January 11, 2018 at 1:33 am

Hi Jason,
I’m reading about the possible government shutdown, and how it can affect the adjudication of asylum cases. It seems that it will be business as usual at the USCIS, but that immigration court cases will be put on hold for the duration of the shutdown.
How has the most recent shutdown in 2013 affected your clients’ cases if at all?
Thanks,
Sara

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Jason Dzubow January 11, 2018 at 7:36 am

I don’t exactly really remember – but USCIS is funded by client (i.e., immigrant) fees and if I remember correctly, they do not shut down. It does affect immigration court cases, I think, at least for non-detained cases. My guess is that it won’t stop the deportation machine, so I am rooting for no shutdown. Take care, Jason

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Sara January 11, 2018 at 8:31 am

Definitely rooting for no shutdown.
Thank you for your response, Jason.

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Sumaya January 11, 2018 at 6:24 pm

Hi Sara, you always search in shadow for scorpions and stinging us with them. Tell us some good news. Nice article should be commented nicely hhaha
BTW did you get your final approval? I know you have RA.

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Jason Dzubow January 11, 2018 at 6:47 pm

It seems to me that her comments are always helpful and spot on, so I am not sure what you are trying to say. Take care, Jason

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Sumaya January 11, 2018 at 7:44 pm

Yes sir, she is helping and she really deserves to be a lawyer. The thing is she searches a lot and asks the questions, from which I try to escape and take out of mind.
But that is true, what to do?
Thanks

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Sumaya January 11, 2018 at 7:49 pm

I dont mean a disrespect to lawyers like you, but there are some lawyers which are just liers.
👋 to you sir Jason and his group

Jason Dzubow January 11, 2018 at 9:05 pm

I am afraid saying she “deserves to be a lawyer” may not be a good thing. I would rather be a video store clerk (I like movies), but apparently there are few jobs left in that field. Take care, Jason

Sara January 11, 2018 at 9:45 pm

I should have read this comment before posting about the bum-breathing turtle.

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Jason Dzubow January 12, 2018 at 7:00 am

As a fan of cryptozoology (I wrote a children’s book about it once), I support your comment. Take care, Jason

Sara January 11, 2018 at 9:43 pm

Good news: Spiders can’t fly.
Fun news: There’s an Australian turtle that can breathe through its butt.
And hopefully we won’t have to worry about a government shutdown.
Still on the RA. About ready to camp at my post office.

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Whatnow! January 10, 2018 at 10:27 pm

Hello there Jason ,

Is it a must to wait 150 days before applying for the work permit? And is the wait time considered after I put in my i589 or after the fingerprint ?

Thanks

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Nyc January 11, 2018 at 1:00 am

The day they accepted your case

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Jason Dzubow January 11, 2018 at 7:22 am

You must wait – it is part of the statute. The wait time begins the day your asylum application is received – so that will be on the blue paper that serves as an asylum receipt. Take care, Jason

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Ciroc January 10, 2018 at 7:50 pm

Hi there!

Anyone here has experience with Miami Immigration Court and how is the situation there? (judges, backlog, overall experience?)
I was browsing in TRAC records and was reading some articles that Miami is in top 5. Phoenix was the 1st, New York follows, then Denver, San Antonio and Miami.

I’m interested in moving my case there, I was referred to court, no appointment yet.

Thank you in advance!

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Ciroc January 10, 2018 at 8:46 pm

Also, if you know anything about that court and LGBT friendliness?! I know New York and Los Angeles are liberal.

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Jason Dzubow January 11, 2018 at 7:17 am

That, I do not know. But if you have a local lawyer, or consult with one, he/she may know. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow January 11, 2018 at 7:16 am

Some of the judges down there have a very low grant rate, but I think they deal mostly with detained cases, which are much more likely to be denied. I wrote about one of the judges there on January 7, 2013 (though I am not 100% whether he is in Miami, but he is in FL). Take care, Jason

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Natto January 10, 2018 at 4:22 pm

A few ideas to follow-up. Self-care is essential, even if the person lacks energy to engage in it, that is when they need it most. Most importantly, engage in regular exercise. At least 30 minutes 5 times a week. It can be moderate like fast walking or more intense like running, jogging, strength training (simple body exercises that can be done at home–push ups, sit ups etc.). Not eating junk food (chips, sweets, white bread, refined baked products like cookies, soda, candy). Eating real, not processed industrial food. These should improve sleep and reduce stress. Often, people can improve their feelings of hope and feel better after incorporating these things (give it a month or two to start working). Regular exercise can also increase feelings of control and achievement and show that your effort can contribute to something positive (like your health). All the best of everyone.

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Jason Dzubow January 10, 2018 at 6:43 pm

Thank you for this. Take care, Jason

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Hasem January 10, 2018 at 4:16 pm

I just talk to the newyork asylum office and they told me they are taking interview who filled on March and April 2015.I don’t know what’s going on because two month ago they told me they are calling for interview who filled on April 2015.
I don’t know what’s going on and how long we have to wait.God please help us.

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Sara January 10, 2018 at 4:18 pm

The person who took your call may not have gotten the latest update. They’re on June 2015.

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Jason Dzubow January 10, 2018 at 6:41 pm

I think the NY office provides a range of dates for the cases they are interviewing, so maybe that is why you are hearing different things. In general, the Asylum Office Scheduling Bulletin (a link is at right) is pretty accurate. Take care, Jason

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Natto January 10, 2018 at 4:12 pm

It looks like many of the people in the study developed severe/major depression, of which their suicidal thoughts are indicative (fathom the idea of being “deported in a coffin”). If so, these people need help because major depression has a non-trivial risk of death. Other symptoms include feelings of hopelessness and despair, often accompanied by severe anxiety. Their situation may have led them to develop depression, but they definitely need help with resolving the depression beyond just waiting for the situation to resolve. For many of them the cost in terms of mental and physical health may be severe. Depression also interferes with leading a normal life. In this situation depression and the suffering of waiting reinforce each other. Please ask these people to obtain help.

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Jason Dzubow January 10, 2018 at 6:40 pm

This is spot on – Thank you. Unfortunately, there are limited resources for such people (in part due to language barriers but also because there are limited mental health resources more generally). Some times non-profit immigration organizations can provide referrals to mental health providers. I did a blog post on September 22, 2016 that had links to non-profits around the US. Thank you for the comment, Jason

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Natto January 10, 2018 at 8:24 pm

Thank you, Jason! For all the people who feel despair and hopelessness in this long waiting situation and who cannot obtain mental health services, know that there are things you can do to lift your depressed mood. You do not need to do talk therapy or take medication, you may have no access to them anyway. But it has been shown that regular moderate exercise can be as effective as medication. You can start slow with walking 30 minutes every day and progress to running, strength training, jumping, and whatever else that makes you move intensely. For everyone else, exercise is the best way to reduce stress. It has no cost, except for your investment in time (30 minutes 5-7 times a week), and it can significantly improve your life. It is the case of body working to heal the mind despite the situation. In addition, try to get social support from friends, groups, join communities and see people. All the best!

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Sumaya January 10, 2018 at 12:04 pm

You wrote in an answer, if the officer and supervisor are willing to grant the asylum, but the check up is not done; the USCIS is issuing a recommended approval. My question is, does it happen that USCIS changes the recommended approval to any other decision? Isn’t it like if you gave a slice of pizza to hangry person and tell after she ate that what did you do with poisoning pizza?

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Jason Dzubow January 10, 2018 at 6:35 pm

It could happen, but that is very rare. I think I have seen once where they asked to re-interview someone who had RA, but he had already left the US by then, and I have not seen a case where RA has been taken away, though I suppose that does happen once in a while. Take care, Jason

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Sumaya January 10, 2018 at 11:34 am

Good one, but it is really hard. And what do you think if the suggestions work for unbelievers or atheist?

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Jason Dzubow January 10, 2018 at 11:54 am

I do not think it is necessary believe in G-d in order to imbue meaning to difficult ordeals. Religion provides a way to do that, but it is not the only way. Take care, Jason

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Sumaya January 10, 2018 at 12:25 pm

I think that human sense goes with what he think and believe. And on my opinion, religion is not to be said the way. It is the real way to go…. but this is my opinion, I shouldn’t impose.
Thanks

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Sara January 10, 2018 at 12:05 pm

Hi Sumaya,
Labeling this limbo a transition period, and realizing that it is just that: a transition that is temporary and that it should be perceived and dealt with as such, is something that is applicable to us all as we navigate this process, regardless of our beliefs or lack thereof. It’s a period that is so indefinite, full of uncertainty and we feel helpless while we’re stuck in it knowing we can’t do anything to speed things along, or improve our outcome. Calling it a transition and acknowledging it’s transformative nature, is helpful to those of us who find themselves wallowing in too many “can’t deal” days, where we put our lives on hold until we get that decision. Sometimes you’re too overwhelmed by it all to realize that there’s a future past this phase that you could be working toward while you’re waiting.
I think that’s a refreshing perspective to a lot of us on this forum.

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Sumaya January 10, 2018 at 12:32 pm

Yes Sara, I agree and I emphasise to encourage the hopeless to survive and live like other. Thanks, I hope we all get well

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Nasir January 10, 2018 at 9:29 am

Hi Jason hope you are doing well , my father received email from Arlington office .
Dear Sir/Madam,
Thank you for your email. Please note that this application is pending a final decision in our office. Once a final decision is reached, you will receive a written decision by mail from our office. Please be sure to maintain an updated address with our office at all times by completing a AR-11, Change of Address Card .

What you think how long it will take they send the decision ?

Thank you .

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Jason Dzubow January 10, 2018 at 11:53 am

There is no way to predict. Some cases take days; others take years. Most cases are resolved within maybe 6 months. Take care, Jason

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Basil January 10, 2018 at 2:11 am

The above situation applies on separated families but for individuals they can just have a job and get busy ..remember guys u came here and applied for asylum to stay in the US and not to stay for few month and leave ..be reliastic ..

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Jason Dzubow January 10, 2018 at 11:50 am

Even for single people, the uncertainty of the wait, and the danger in the home country, can cause real stress and psychological problems. At least that is what I have observed in some of my clients. Take care, Jason

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FS January 9, 2018 at 11:56 pm

Hello ,

I have both TPS and a pending asylum case . I have heard that if a person has both , it will be very difficult to be granted asylum . And as you know TPS is being ended and terminated by this administration and we are left with no hope , which means we wait and wait for no solutions . My question if a person with TPS leaves US and cancel his asylum case , will there be a three to ten year bar , is TPS a legal status that protects a person from the reentery bar in case he / she leaves to a third country other that the country he / she fears prosecution and fears

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Jason Dzubow January 10, 2018 at 11:46 am

My experience has not been that it is more difficult for people with TPS to win asylum. I think there is no affect on the asylum case. If you decide to leave, you should contact the asylum office and try to withdraw your asylum case. This can be difficult to do, but if you can withdraw it, you can avoid a deportation order (such an order makes it more difficult to return here). As for the 3/10 year bar, whether you are subject to that depends on how long you were here unlawfully. If you filed for asylum or TPS less than 6 months after your I-94 expired, you should not be subject to the bar. You might want to have a lawyer go over the specifics with you to understand your situation more clearly Take care, Jason

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Matt January 10, 2018 at 9:10 pm

Hi Jason. Thanks for all your supports!
I filed for asylum 2 years before my I-94 get expired. I had my interview 4 years after and referred to immigration court! I am waiting for court now! Am I subject to 3 to 10 years visa bar if I leave the country for change of status?

Thanks!

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Jason Dzubow January 11, 2018 at 7:19 am

Normally, an I-94 does not last for two years – usually it is 6 months or D/S meaning “duration of status”. But assuming you filed for asylum prior to the expiration of the your I-94, you should not be subject to the 3/10 year bar. Talk to a lawyer to look at your papers and be sure. Take care, Jason

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Krish January 9, 2018 at 10:30 pm

Jasan!Great article!This is the great forum for like me,always try to get positive vibes from reading you articles.defiantly it’s hardes situation to waiting waiting for long time.I have been waiting since 2014.Also don’t know yet when i am getting interview.Thousands of people are suffering like us.socially,economically and health wise.Flying on dark cloud!Don’t know about future.I loose my two family members within 14-18.I am suffering by high blood pressure high blood sugar.i loose my sense several times.Any thing can happen any time,if that happen I don’t have no choice.still trying to fight with so many things!But i would say do not loose hope.God judge fairly.keep faith

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Jason Dzubow January 10, 2018 at 7:34 am

Thank you for the comment. And keep going, if you filed in 2014, you should be approaching your interview. Good luck, Jason

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Broken January 9, 2018 at 10:04 pm

Hey Jason,
Here I come with another question. How does the asylum process go? If after the interview, the IO makes all the findings, does he recommend an approval? And what comes next? Who do they give the recommendation for approval to? Why does the cases take tooooooooooo long even if the IO thinks that the applicant should be granted asylum?

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Jason Dzubow January 10, 2018 at 7:33 am

The Asylum Officer makes a decision and give it to the supervisor. If the supervisor agrees, and security checks are complete, they should issue the decision. Some cases are slow due to security checks or other reasons (which I wrote about on October 20, 2015). If the Officer agrees that asylum should be granted, but security checks are not done yet, they sometimes issue a recommended approval, but I do not really know how this works internally. Take care, Jason

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Broken January 10, 2018 at 9:39 pm

Thank you Jason for your response. Yet, I would like to know if a recommended approval can be issued to an applicant interviewed in a circuit ride?

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Jason Dzubow January 11, 2018 at 7:19 am

I believe so, but I do not remember if we ever had that. Take care, Jason

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Nana January 9, 2018 at 9:04 pm

Hi Jason,
i have read something when i reading your articles here about some people leave USA and traveled to Canada because Canada have faster system for asylum cases, i don’t submit my case in USA yet i just arrived to USA, how can i move to Canada to submit my case there , i haven’t Visa to Canada and i haven’t any relatives there too, some one tell me if i have relative lives in canada like father brother i can go to canada by overland , but i haven’t any relatives, Dose any way or law allow to me move to canada and submit my case in canada.

Thanks Jason

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Nyc January 9, 2018 at 10:00 pm

If you do not any family members in Canada and you
Arrived in USA first you must to file asylum in USA
If you do in Canada they will deny your case.
That they call “The Canada–United States Safe Third Country Agreement”
They do not want people shipping to apply asylum.
You can do it if you have Canada Visa then go back to your country then go to Canada.

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R H January 9, 2018 at 11:46 pm

It is true that under Canada–United States Safe Third Country Agreement, which went into effect sometimes in 2004 persons seeking refugee status must make their claim in the first country they arrive in, either the United States or Canada, unless they qualify for an exception and I believe there are few exceptions. If you don’t qualify under one of those exceptions, then you are out of luck and if you attempt to make a claim for asylum in Canada you might be send back to the US. However, there is a loophole in the agreement that will allow an individual to claim asylum in Canada that is to cross into Canada at locations other than the official boarder crossing. Under the agreement as it stands now only refugees presenting at an official border crossing to be turned back to the United States. If you don’t go into Canada through official border crossing, then you may be able to present your claim and have a chance to be heard. However, it is not safe to cross into Canada illegally specially at this time of the year when in most places temperature is freezing.

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Jason Dzubow January 10, 2018 at 7:41 am

Also, before making such a trip, it is very wise to talk to a lawyer in Canada about eligibility for asylum there. If you cannot get asylum there, it seems like a bad idea to go. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow January 10, 2018 at 7:28 am

My associate wrote about that on May 31, 2016, but before you go to Canada, talk to a lawyer there to make sure you can do it – sometimes they deport people back if they have been in the US before going to Canada, and sometimes those people get detained. Take care, Jason

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Miller January 9, 2018 at 8:44 pm

When I got my drivers license, I told myself “I’m a Californian now”. That made sense since more than half of people who live here were born someplace else, right? That is a relief of sorts. I don’t feel like a stranger. Of course I miss home all the time, and I think it will still stay my home for some more time, but this is what I have and the only thing I have – so I try to grab it as hard as I can. There is literally nothing else I can do. That said, sometimes I fear for my future, I get these thoughts in my head. What if they -the government- don’t understand? I know for a fact that my previous government did not care at all. At that point I say, worrying will not help. I have to live through either way.

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Jason Dzubow January 10, 2018 at 7:26 am

Thank you for the comment – I wrote a post on April 23, 2015 where I quote some refugees about how they remember their homelands – maybe that would be of interest. Take care, Jason

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celia January 9, 2018 at 6:41 pm

Another awesomely written article. Most Asylum seekers can relate to the majority of the points you brought up. I still remember about 4 years ago when there was literally no backlog and people could expect their cases to be resolved in a maximum of six months. Throughout my wait, I’ve been through despair, uncertainty, and a lot of other feelings. Thankfully I came across your blog that boosted my hope and gave me insights as to how to cope with the backlog.
These are strange times for immigrants in the US who must leave in fear on a daily basis- even with a legal status. The fear to wake up and see changes in their status or have to restart from scratch. Even as an Asylee, I sometimes wonder if our status will not be jeopardized by the moves of the new administration.

Regards,

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Jason Dzubow January 9, 2018 at 10:24 pm

I think there is some justification to that fear, as they are now looking for any reason to harm immigrants. It is a vast waste of time and money, and is a great shame for our country. Hopefully, better times will come soon. Take care, Jason

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Broken January 9, 2018 at 4:01 pm

Whenever I read your helpful posts, I wonder if you were an asylum seeker too because I see as if you were the only person to understand us and know what we are going through. As for other people’s comments, of course we have to live our lives and forget about the pending cases but I think cases are different. Someone like me, I have nowhere else to go. If the US declares me deport-able, what is sure that I will end my life before wicked people from country can make me suffer more than before. However, I some times wonder if US authorities realize that. The waiting period has made me to lose all my potentials and live like a mad person. At times, I blame myself and wish I had let myself killed than fleeing to a country where psychologically my health gets worse on a daily basis. Those who live their lives could possibly return but I cannot. It sacks. Thank you for your post Jason

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Jason Dzubow January 9, 2018 at 6:52 pm

I think you have to keep going, day by day. I see that people who reach out to others for help receive a sense of hope. Try to do things like that, as you will benefit. And hopefully, you will reach a positive resolution to your case one day soon. Take care, Jason

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Broken January 9, 2018 at 9:57 pm

Thank you ever so much Jason,
I live my life, work and do whatever I can but meanwhile, I cuss the my country leaders through emails and if I dared to go back there I will be slaughtered. I lost everything, my houses, my cars, my business, and my pride. If this country cannot protect me, I will seek the everlasting protection, death

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Jason Dzubow January 10, 2018 at 7:29 am

It sounds like you have a strong case, so as long as it is well-prepared, you should have a good chance for success here. Take care, Jason

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Broken January 10, 2018 at 9:48 pm

Thank you for cheering me up. Though my lawyer talks less, when we last met he told me that I had a very strong case. I provided to the US government newspapers talking about me with my pictures and names, pictures were I was about to be killed and many more. One US Nonprofit I worked for, wrote an affidavit to support my claims and have my claims expedited which was done but I am still very worried why my decision is taking one year post interview whereas some of my kids are still in danger and things back home keep falling apart. It is very frustrating. During the interview the IO could tell me things like you can change your name once you become a permanent resident and many more but I am really confused. The truth is that I can never dare not even in a dream to go back to my home country

Tina January 9, 2018 at 11:44 pm

Me too. The only reason I live is for my kids.. I already made up my mind. I can not go back to the biblical ‘egypt’, be tormented further and watch my kids suffer. I will be gone from this world, than to be thrown back to the same thing I was running from. I live a blank life, and refuse to give the slow process a thought.The phrase that keeps me going,” America owes me nothing”.

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Jason Dzubow January 10, 2018 at 7:39 am

Where I disagree is that America does not owe you nothing. In fact, we signed onto the Refugee Convention and we do owe something to bona fide refugees – they are allowed to remain here, and we do not return them to countries where they face harm. We did not sign on to this for fun, we did it because we get tangible benefits from being part of this agreement (I wrote about this on January 19, 2017) and we are obliged – morally and legally – to abide by the agreement. Take care and thank you for the comment, Jason

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Sumaya January 10, 2018 at 11:29 am

America awes you much on its time. We can not compare all situations as one. I hope you will get succeeded.

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Jolan January 9, 2018 at 2:12 pm

This is a great article Jason. As someone who went through this (from application to asylum grant it took me around 4.5 years), I can sympathize with others in the same boat. If I may give my advice in my small way, it is important to live with your future in the forefront and asylum on the backburner. I always thought of it that way. Even if you get asylum, its not the end of it. In a capitalistic society, you need to strive in order to move forward and this applies to citizens as well, so why waste 5 valuable years just waiting and not doing anything? I got a therapist, attended therapy sessions, got professional certifications, got jobs, changed them, bought a house when the prices were down, then got another one and rented it out. In many cases, I was so busy with work, study, travel etc that I hardly remembered that I had a case pending. I was, of course, happy after I got asylum and then a Greencard, but it didnt make any special “turn” in my life since I was already doing everything I could. To be honest, the encouragement I received from my therapist had a lot to do with it as also watching motivational videos and reading motivational articles on the internet. I remember one of the videos saying something like you can’t change the things around you but you can change yourself. I dont think mine is an extraordinary story in anyway but I hope it will give others some encouragement to move on despite the long wait.

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Sara January 9, 2018 at 2:39 pm

Thanks for sharing this, Jolan. It’s very helpful and inspiring. Therapy is a great idea for those of us who may be crippled by anxiety or by emotional distress over family separation, and unable to move forward. In your case, it seems to have unlocked the strength you already have, and helped you live up to your true potential.
Stories like yours are the motivation us limbo dwellers need to take back control of our lives.
I wish you continued success. 🙂

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Jason Dzubow January 9, 2018 at 6:42 pm

I think this is very helpful – and extraordinary. Thank you for the comment, Jason

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Asylum seeker January 9, 2018 at 9:03 pm

Really motivating….my twork little kids are back.there in my country….life is hard without them

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Jason Dzubow January 10, 2018 at 7:27 am

I wish they would give priority to people separated from family, especially young children, but they do not (though you can always try to expedite your case if you think that would help). Take care, Jason

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Asylum seeker January 10, 2018 at 7:26 pm

My lawyer said he did…but no proceding yet…is it wise to call the local office and ask about it

Nizk January 9, 2018 at 1:04 pm

Hi Jason, I received a Recommended Approval (RA) from the office four months ago but no final decision yet. To my limited knowledge, a wait can be indefinite even with RA. Are there statistics on this type of wait?

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Jason Dzubow January 9, 2018 at 6:39 pm

There may be, but I have not seen them in a long time (if they even exist). You can contact the asylum office and inquire about the case. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

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Nizk January 10, 2018 at 5:39 am

How would obtaining permanent residency in a different country affect the recommended approval?

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Jason Dzubow January 10, 2018 at 11:50 am

If you have permanent status to live in a third country, asylum should be denied. So even if you have a RA, the case could (and–based on the law–probably should) be denied if you receive permanent status in a third country. Take care, Jason

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Joe January 9, 2018 at 12:11 pm

What an article , I believe the best thing to do is to live as though one has already won the asylum process . We should focus on the things we can control .

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Jason Dzubow January 9, 2018 at 6:37 pm

I agree with that – it is difficult to do, though. Take care, Jason

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Tesseract January 9, 2018 at 12:01 pm

Hi Jason. Thank you for the information. Waiting indeed is very stressful. Could you answer a question. I filed through Miami office in March 2014. The are handing cases from June 2013. I moved and switched my case to Chicago (and confirmed with the local office they received it). They are handling cases from April-October 2015. I am still waiting for my interview. Any idea on when will it happen? Would the Chicago office wait for the Miami office to “catch up” before they schedule the interview?

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Jason Dzubow January 9, 2018 at 6:36 pm

My understanding is that they should interview you as if you filed originally in Chicago, so I think you need to contact them and tell them that they passed your interview date. This may result in an interview in the near future (hopefully), so make sure your case is ready to go. You can find the office contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

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Bhatti January 9, 2018 at 10:55 am

Sir what Arrival date we should put on 1-485? The date asylum case was approved or the date we first arrived in the United States? Please assist.

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Jason Dzubow January 9, 2018 at 6:34 pm

If they are asking the date you arrived in the US, you should put that. The asylum grant date is something different, but I do think you need to list that on the form. Take care, Jason

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Bhatti January 9, 2018 at 7:13 pm

It only says on old 1-485 form that provide arrival date, I am very stressed that the attorney should know better then me, how can I provide this information to USCIS?

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Bhatti January 9, 2018 at 7:06 pm

My attorney put the date of arrival on I-485 and I-765 forms when I was granted asylum And I was issued a I-94 . He didn’t put the date of my first arrival in US. I checked the status online and I-765 application is showing denied, wondering what is the reason of denial, I still have a EAD valid through August. Plz advise.

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Jason Dzubow January 10, 2018 at 7:10 am

Normally such errors should not be fatal – you should be able to correct them if USCIS sends a request for evidence (or even if they do not) or at the interview, but at this point, probably you want to wait for the denial letter to see what it says, and then make a decision. Take care, Jason

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Sara January 9, 2018 at 10:54 am

Great article, Jason. The wait turned my life upside down. Or was it the new mom gig? I can never tell.
P.S. The ending had me singing “Fiddler on the Roof” which I performed in high school with my choir group.

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Jason Dzubow January 9, 2018 at 6:33 pm

Again, if you know the words to Fiddler on the Roof, you should automatically be granted asylum…

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Sara January 9, 2018 at 8:23 pm

Yessir, and in a soprano that’s meaner than Tony and higher than Snoop.
Maybe they’ll discover that while doing my background checks.

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Celia January 9, 2018 at 10:32 am

Very good article!
It’s exactly what we (me and my spouse) feel, being in limbo. We were to move cross country three years ago but eventually stayed because we didn’t want to face even more waiting by changing location. Now that we’re referred to court, we’re thinking about the move again.
We were about to sign up for university/college but unfortunately they need granted status for application.
However, we are still hopeful. We’re separated from family but we’re here for each other.
The waiting can cause excruciating anxiety and pain but my advice is that try and look for resources, never give up.

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Jason Dzubow January 9, 2018 at 6:30 pm

Thank you. Also, remember that (at least statistically) it is probably easier to win in court than at the asylum office. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow January 11, 2018 at 7:14 am

There is no harm in calling the local office, though often it is not easy to bet info from them. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow January 11, 2018 at 7:21 am

Does your lawyer have any theory about the delay? Sometimes, you can get a good idea from the facts of the case about the reason for the delay, and sometimes you cannot tell. You might also think about a mandamus lawsuit, as that likely will result in a decision, though there are potentially some risks. Talk to the lawyer about that if you are interested. Take care, Jason

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Asylum seeker January 12, 2018 at 5:15 am

He said that the waiing time is normal and everybody has to wait…
I will try calling the local office n ask them about it…thanks for your response
Take care

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