Asylum and the Limits of Mercy in a Nation of Laws

by Jason Dzubow on January 25, 2018

The case of Ded Rranxburgaj, a rejected Albanian asylum seeker living in Detroit, has been getting attention lately. Mr. Rranxburgaj arrived in the United States in about 2001 and applied for asylum. An Immigration Judge rejected his claim in 2006, and the BIA denied his appeal in 2009. Instead of deporting him, the government allowed him to remain in the U.S. for humanitarian reasons: He was the primary caretaker for his wife, who has multiple sclerosis. Mr. Rranxburgaj’s wife is wheelchair bound, and she recently suffered a stroke. Doctors say that she is too sick to travel.

Rev. Zundel: When life gives you ICE, make ice cream.

There seems little doubt that Mr. Rranxburgaj is a “decent, family man” who does not pose a danger to the United States. According to his wife, he is a “very good husband” who helps her “take a shower… change clothes [and] cook.” Besides his wife, he has two sons in the United States–a DACA recipient and a U.S. citizen.

Mr. Rranxburgaj was living here peacefully since his case ended in 2009, but events took a turn for the worse last year when ICE decided to implement his removal order. According to an ICE spokesman: “In October 2017, ICE allowed Mr. Rranxburgaj to remain free from custody while making preparations for his departure pursuant to the judge’s order, which he had satisfactorily done.” “He was again instructed to report to ICE [to be deported this week], but did not report as instructed.”

Instead, Mr. Rranxburgaj took refuge in the Central United Methodist Church in downtown Detroit. Since ICE generally does not arrest people from churches, Mr. Rranxburgaj apparently hopes to avoid removal by remaining there, at least until something can be done about his deportation order. His lawyer has requested a stay of removal from ICE, but there is no decision yet, and ICE does not appear willing to play nice. An agency spokesman says that Mr. Rranxburgaj is considered a “fugitive.”

Meanwhile, the church is standing with Mr. Rranxburgaj and his family. The Pastor, Rev. Dr. Jill Zundel, said that the decision was in line with the teachings of Jesus, who had “compassion for those who seek new hope in a new land.” Rev. Zundel, who–if I can say this about a member of the clergy–seems like a real bad ass, has a tattoo on her arm that reads, “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.”

There are different ways to look at Mr. Rranxburgaj’s case. On the one hand, he is a man who has been in the United States for 17 years, his immediate family members are all here, he takes care of his sick wife, and he does not pose a danger to our country. So he should be allowed to stay. On the other hand, he is a man whose asylum case and appeal were rejected, and who is violating the law by remaining in our country. Allowing him to remain here will only encourage others to follow his lead. Therefore, he must go.

In short, Mr. Rranxburgaj’s story lays bare the conflict between enforcing the immigration law and showing mercy in a sympathetic case.

This situation reminds me of another–much older–conflict between law and mercy (or, more accurately, between law and justice, but I think the concepts of mercy and justice are closely related). After he was unjustly sentenced to death, Socrates sat in his cell waiting to be executed. His friend Crito arrived to help him escape. In the ensuing dialogue (creatively named The Crito), Socrates argues that he cannot violate a law, even an unjust law. He says that he entered into a social contract with “The Law” by choosing to live in Athens, and he gained benefits accordingly. To violate the rules now would undermine the social contract and ultimately destroy the city. Rather than breaking the law to escape, Socrates believed he should try to persuade the authorities to let him go. Failing that, he must accept death, since he could not justly attack The Law (by escaping) on account of having been unjustly convicted. In other words, Socrates disagrees with Rev. Zundel’s tattoo.

So where does this leave us?

I must admit that my sympathies lie with Mr. Rranxburgaj and his family. They are not doing anyone any harm. What is the benefit of ripping the family apart, especially considering the wife’s vulnerable position? Thomas Aquinas writes that “Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution; justice without mercy is cruelty.” In Mr. Rranxburgaj’s case, fealty to the abstract concept of “The Law” seems cruel in the face of family separation and the wife’s illness.

On the macro level, Mr. Rranxburgaj’s case begs the question whether there is room for mercy (justice?) in the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws. Well, why shouldn’t there be? Every person convicted of a crime is not subject to the maximum penalty. Indeed, due to mitigating factors and prosecutorial discretion, very few criminals actually receive the maximum sentence. The same is true for government enforcement in the civil arena: Not everyone who breaks the speed limit receives a ticket. If there is room for mercy and justice in the implementation of the criminal and civil law, why can’t the immigration laws be interpreted in a similar manner?

Unfortunately, that is not the view of the Trump Administration, which seems hell-bent on enforcement. To be fair, restricting immigration was an important plank of Mr. Trump’s campaign, and so it makes sense that he would crack down on illegal immigration. However, in Mr. Rranxburgaj’s case, and in many other instances, the Administration’s policies defy common sense. In the rush to implement The Law, the Administration has lost sight of justice. And of humanity.

When our government replaces mercy with cruelty, it is not only “illegals” who will suffer. We all will. And so it is heartening to see brave people like Rev. Zundel and her congregation standing up for justice, even when it sometimes means disobeying the law.

{ 197 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack February 9, 2018 at 5:28 pm

Hi,Jason,
Thanks your website information.
My case status is I589 pending and waiting for the asylum office interview since I have submit my application in 2016.Now I get an work at Los Angeles. So I want change my case from Houston office to Los Angeles office.
1)Do you know how to change the asylum office?If i change the address on the USCIS website to Los Angeles address ? My case will auto transfer to Los Angeles asylum office?
2)At present the new rule announced by the USCIS.I will be interviewed by Los Angeles office in the 21 days if I transfer my case to Los Angeles?
Or my case in a queue need to waiting a long time for Los Angeles asylum office interview notice?
Your reply is highly appreciated.
Thank you very much.
Best regards
Jack.

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Jason Dzubow February 9, 2018 at 5:59 pm

1 – You can change online using form AR-11, available at http://www.uscis.gov. You might want to contact the asylum office afterward to make sure the case gets moved. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. 2 – I think the new rule only applies to newly filed cases, so you will likely have a long wait before your interview in either office. You do keep your place in the queue if you move to LA. Take care, Jason

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Jack February 10, 2018 at 2:52 am

Hi,Jason,
Thanks your quickly reply.
You’re a great man.
Thanks again!

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Mo February 5, 2018 at 4:16 am

Hi Jason
I am asylee and change my ssn to unrestricted.
Now I do not need the EAD or still need to renew it?

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Jason Dzubow February 5, 2018 at 7:32 am

I think you do not need it (but I am not 100% sure about that). However, many employers and even the DMV may not recognize the asylum status without the EAD, and so I always recommend that people renew it. Take care, Jason

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Marcia February 1, 2018 at 7:11 am

Hay Jason, I have a quick question I am waiting on my court MCH In regard to asylum. My question is the court priority also changed to new applications first. I think it’s like six months no hearing and no progress.

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Jason Dzubow February 1, 2018 at 6:46 pm

Court priorities are not affected by the new change to the Asylum Office schedule. Take care, Jason

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Thomas January 31, 2018 at 8:11 pm

Its official. People who apply last get their interviews first, going back to their old system. They posted it on the USCIS website.

https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/uscis-take-action-address-asylum-backlog

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Thomas January 31, 2018 at 8:20 pm

This is crazy. If you apply for asylum now, you WILL have your interview before 21 days from the date you apply. This is so unfair towards all those people who have been waiting for all these years! They’re only doing this to solve the surge in the rate of new asylum petitions on the southern borders. Its going to make this chaotic everywhere else though.

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Tina February 1, 2018 at 12:15 am

Seriously?

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Asylee February 1, 2018 at 12:53 am

Will this change affect the decision making time as well? It has been two months we are waiting for the decision from the Chicago office.

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Jason Dzubow February 1, 2018 at 6:41 pm

Who knows? If they are shifting priorities around, they may put off decisions for cases that are already interviewed and currently pending. We will have to see what happens. Take care, Jason

Jason Dzubow February 1, 2018 at 6:29 pm

I am not confident they will be able to actually interview people who filed within 21 days – there are too many applications. So if they cannot get to you within 21 days, will your application disappear? Who knows? We don’t, because they tell us so little. The lack of information really contributes to the hardship that people are suffering. Take care, Jason

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Thomas February 1, 2018 at 7:40 pm

Their shift in priorities is a really scary move. They cancelled the scheduling bulletin, they might build a wall, and they might as well demolish USCIS’s existence. It scares me how much hate this administration has towards immigrants in general. It also makes me question where all of this hate came from.

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Jason Dzubow February 1, 2018 at 10:50 pm

Good questions. We had hoped that such beliefs were behind us, but unfortunately, we have a long way to go as a country. Take care, Jason

Leul January 31, 2018 at 4:29 pm

This just came on uscis website and after waiting on a pending list for more than 3 years being separated with my wife,as my hope rises approaching for interview, USCIS has changed the priority as last in first served starting from january 29 2018 and made my life a nightmare again.

Affirmative Asylum Interview Scheduling
https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-asylum/asylum/affirmative-asylum-interview-scheduling

What happened to America ,what happened to being a humanitarian.. ..
I am crying….that past three years were the longest and the worst times of my life and God i don’t even know how long its gonna take anymore.
God please look unto us.

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lola January 31, 2018 at 10:02 am

Hello Jason,
My American citizen brother applied for my parents (who are Palestinian refugees live in Syria) almost about one and a half years ago, USCIS approval was issued six month ago but nothing happened since then, my question is, are they included in Trump’s immigration ban? do they have the chance to come join their son here? In his state of union speech Trump talked about only allowing the spouse and minor children of an immigrant to join him to the US, dose that exclude parents?!
Thank you,
Lola

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Jason Dzubow January 31, 2018 at 6:30 pm

Parents of adult US-citizen children are stilt allowed to immigrate here – Trump is proposing to change that law. I do not know if they are blocked by the travel ban; I think there is an exception for people with close family ties, but I do not know. Once the I-130 petitions are approved, the next step is at the consulate, and the US government should automatically contact your family about that. Maybe you should talk to a lawyer to check what is happening. Take care, Jason

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Rad January 30, 2018 at 7:55 pm

Hi Jason,
Your blogs have been quite useful.I applied for asylum last year in May.I have a lawyer handling my case, however I want to know if I can present additional evidences and statements prior to the interview or wait during the interview to present them.
Thanks

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Jason Dzubow January 31, 2018 at 7:09 am

Different asylum offices have different rules. In my office (Virginia), all evidence must be submitted at least one week before the interview. Your lawyer should know the rule for your local office and you can submit evidence accordingly. Take care, Jason

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Arman January 30, 2018 at 5:48 pm

Hello,
I am an asylum seeker received my EAD end of March 2017. I try to file my tax return but I do not know if I am a “resident alien” or “non-resident alien” and which form I should file.

Thanks

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Jason Dzubow January 30, 2018 at 6:49 pm

I do not know about taxes – you need to talk to an accountant or someone who helps with taxes. Take care, Jason

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Nyc January 30, 2018 at 9:19 pm

You are a Residents alien
You have to pay penalty if you dont have health insurance

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Nyc January 30, 2018 at 3:36 pm

Just got a phone called from asylum office
Do not come to pick up they will mail a decision to me
This is my time to wait without knowing.

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Jason Dzubow January 30, 2018 at 6:46 pm

This happens in most of my cases where the officer originally gives us a date to pick up. It is not a good or bad sign. Hopefully, you get a good decision soon. Take care, Jason

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HA January 30, 2018 at 2:24 pm

Hi
I keep ask you again about the same thing but it became a night mare for me,
We submitted I-485 on April 17th based on granting asylum more than one year, in USCIS website, it shows that they are processing June 2nd applications in November 30th, what i have to do except the online inquiry?
as per their chart, they started processing our applications on mid of October, how long usually they need to make a decision?
Thank you

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Jason Dzubow January 30, 2018 at 6:45 pm

I think USCIS charts are pretty useless. We are seeing I-485 for asylees take 10 to 12 months or more, so I think there is nothing abnormal about your wait time. You can call USCIS to inquire if you want. Their number can be found at http://www.uscis.gov. Take care, Jason

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Viola January 30, 2018 at 11:08 pm

Hi Jason.

I came on f1 visa and am in the process to file my asylum application here in the US. I am gathering evidence to attach to my application. Someone told me that I need an affidavit signed by a court official from my country emphasizing the facts in my application. I would like you to advise me on that. Also before I came here I traveled to Kigali Rwanda for a burial and it appears in my passport. How do I account for this travel in my application?

Thanks a lot

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Jason Dzubow January 31, 2018 at 7:13 am

I have no idea what type of affidavit you would need from a court official. We submit no such documents, but I suppose it depends on your case. As for the travel, you have to tell them about it if they ask. Unless you have permanent status in a third country, such travel should not affect your application. Take care, Jason

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celia January 30, 2018 at 1:02 pm

Hi Jason,

I was wondering if local USCIS service centers issue expedited Refugee Travel Document? I have an emergency travel and would like to talk directly to an officer with supporting documents of my emergency travel. I heard they do that with expedited advance paroles.

Thank you,
Take care.

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Jason Dzubow January 30, 2018 at 6:41 pm

We have never done that for an RTD, so I do not know. Certainly, you can try, and if you have luck (or not), let us know, as it would help others. Good luck, Jason

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celia January 30, 2018 at 9:27 pm

Yes Jason. I’ll certainly let you know. This situation is making me nervous.
Take care,

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alex January 30, 2018 at 11:34 am

Ps. I would love to see some analytics of your blog. Number of visitors over the years. I am sure it’s increased dramatically with all the issues regarding refugees/asylum seekers/migrants…etc.

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Jason Dzubow January 30, 2018 at 6:35 pm

I get some, but they do not seem all that reliable to me. Google tells me that it’s usually in the neighborhood of 800 or 900 per day, but my blog itself says closer to 2000 per day. I think the first number is more realistic, if not on the high side, but I really have no idea. Take care, Jason

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alex January 30, 2018 at 11:22 am

Great article as usual. I am having trouble writing this comment because there a fierce internal thought conflict within me. On the one hand, as an individual living in a civilized society one must accept the social contract and all that comes with it. On the other hand, I will never judge a soul’s pursuit of better life (not just asylum), after all, it is only human.

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Jason Dzubow January 30, 2018 at 6:33 pm

It is a classic dilemma – law vs. justice. Socrates and Victor Hugo couldn’t figure it out, and so I am not sure we will either. Take care, Jason

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Hmong Bong January 30, 2018 at 6:34 am

Hi Jason,

I was granted asylum at EOIR court earlier this month. As I prepare for my I-485 filing, I’m concerned that I might need to disclose that I worked without permission in the form. The asylum clock system practically forced me to work without permission to support myself while I wait for the clock to reach a ripe 150 days (which in my case took way longer than 150 days).

My current attorney, who won my asylum case for me, actually advised me to conceal the fact that I worked without permission. He said it wasn’t a bar to asylum (red herring), and that I’m good so long as I didn’t claim to be a citizen (I didn’t).

Is he right?

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Jason Dzubow January 30, 2018 at 7:34 am

He is right that it is not a bar to asylum (though lying about it could cause you to lose asylum). But the I-485 form has many questions, and if they ask about your work, and you lie, it could create real problems for you. I think you need to be very careful about that, and if you have a lawyer who is encouraging you to lie, I think you should talk to another lawyer. Take care, Jason

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Hmong Bong January 30, 2018 at 7:53 am

If that’s the case, USCIS has put me in an impossible position. INA §245(c)(2) states that working without authorization is a bar to adjustment of status. And since EAD waiting times are legendary, I’m willing to bet the majority of asylees who’re adjusting status, at some point, have worked without authorization.

Yet many of them still receive their Green Cards. What gives?

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Sara January 30, 2018 at 10:44 am

Hey Hmong,
You’re definitely not alone in this, and I believe that being honest and forthcoming is the best way to go about it.
I would imagine that this would be one of the things that don’t, or shouldn’t, apply to asylees adjusting status when it would otherwise affect other categories of immigrants.
Rest assured that you’re not alone, and probably not in the minority, so hopefully it won’t cause any issues.
Before you submit your application, I advise you to read Jason’s post dated 11/13/17: http://www.asylumist.com/2017/11/13/the-perils-and-pitfalls-of-applying-for-a-green-card/
Good luck!

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Hmong Bong January 31, 2018 at 12:16 am

Thanks a lot. I also think that honesty is the best policy. In a climate where USCIS are instructed to find as many mistakes/faults as possible, I don’t think it’s prudent to lie about this, something which they likely already know anyway.

I shall attach a cover letter explaining the situation and just hope for the best. I’ll consult an attorney whether to also append a waiver of inadmissibility form.

Thanks for your response.

Jamie January 30, 2018 at 12:20 pm

Hmong Bong,

Please allow me to explain something you:

The clause that you quoted GENERALLY doesn’t apply to asylees adjusting their status from asylee to PR (at least in practice). In fact, many of the bars in that same piece of legislation don’t apply to asylees.

In theory, you could be barred from adjusting status according to the INA 212 (b): “An unlawful presence exception applies during the period of time in which the asylee had a bona fide, pending asylum application. The time period that the applicant’s bona fide asylum application was pending should not be included in any unlawful presence calculation, [1] provided the applicant was not employed without authorization during such time period. Unauthorized employment would disqualify the asylee from this exception”.

However, the same act allows for asylum applicants waiver (form I-602) once the inadmissibility is not:

1. Controlled Substance Traffickers- INA 212(a)(2)(C)
2. Espionage, Sabotage, Illegal Export, etc.- INA 212(a)(3)(A)
3. Terrorist Activities- INA 212(A)(3)(B) (Some exemptions do apply to this category of inadmissibility or ineligibility of a waiver)
4. Adverse Foreign Policy Impact- INA 212 (a)(3)(C)
5. Participants in Nazi Persecution/Genocide- INA 212 (a)(3)(E)

Usually, as a matter of practice, you aren’t barred from adjusting status if you worked without authorization while your application for asylum was being processed. My only concern is that the current administration is hell-bent on curbing/reducing legal migration to the US which may see traditional practices, such as discretionary waivers, being discontinued.

I am would caution you to not lie to the USCIS as this could further complicate your case. Just write a letter to them explaining why you had to work without authorization. If not, use form I-602, just to be on the safe side, to apply for a waiver.

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Jason Dzubow January 30, 2018 at 6:40 pm

This is good advice. For my clients, in a case like this, I would not file the I-602. I would only do that if USCIS requests it. Different lawyers may take a different approach, of course, but that is what I would do. Take care, Jason

Hmong Bong January 31, 2018 at 12:27 am

Thanks a lot Jamie for your response. I was reading the statutes, and if you say that these statutes aren’t followed to the letter in practice then it would be a relief.

I’ve made the decision to not lie about this at all, and also to explain anything that might hurt me in my cover letter.

I’ve further looked into the I-602 form, and it seems like it’s used primarily for criminal/health issues of inadmissibility.

I guess my question is, would not filing an I-602 hurt me if I answered “yes” to working without authorization? Or would a cover letter be sufficient? Or just throw the I-602 in just in case, because it wouldn’t hurt?

Jason Dzubow January 30, 2018 at 6:29 pm

The issue should not be the work without authorization; the issue is if you lied about working without authorization. If you did not lie, you should be fine. However, since USCIS is being overly strict with all applications these days, you have to read all the questions carefully, and if anything is a “yes”, talk to a lawyer about it to protect yourself. Take care, Jason

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Hmong Bong January 31, 2018 at 12:18 am

Thanks Jason, I’ve decided to tell the truth and say “yes” to working without authorization. I shall append a cover letter explaining the situation and basically hope for them to be empathetic to my situation.

Would it hurt my case to file an I-602 anyway to explain the inadmissibility? Or would a cover letter suffice?

Jamie January 31, 2018 at 12:02 pm

Hmong Bong,

I feel like a letter explaining why you worked without authorization should be fine. Like Jason said, I wouldn’t use a waiver form unless they ask for one. Most times, if there is need for a waiver, they will let you know. Some lawyers just throw the waiver in the application to avoid further delays. Since your case is not that serious, I wouldn’t submit any I-602 form.

Ivon January 31, 2018 at 7:43 pm

Hi Hmong

I had the same issue and my clock was stopped as well forcing me to work to support myself until I got asylum. However in my 485, I entered all the dates when I worked and this was never bought up and I was approved. I don’t think there was any specific yes/no question about working without authorization. It just asks the dates when and where you worked. I did not lie (no reason to) as unauthorized work is waived for Asylum and marriage adjusters. But that was 3 years ago and I heard that he form has changed now.

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Tc January 29, 2018 at 10:32 pm

Hello Jason
I’m sorry to bother you
I already submit my package without typing the middle name the same way in passport (I put the two middle names together without a space between them) but the first and last name are exactly same as passport.
I’m worried about details. because I seriously will be killed if I return back to my country, please tell me what to do?

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Jason Dzubow January 30, 2018 at 7:24 am

You can correct this at the interview. You can also send in information prior to the interview and include your full name there. In any case, you probably submitted a copy of your passport, so the asylum office should have your full name. I do not think you need to worry too much about this and I doubt it will be a problem, but you will need to correct it at the interview. Take care, Jason

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Tc January 30, 2018 at 3:41 pm

Thanks,Jason
God blesses

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oska January 29, 2018 at 9:32 pm

Hi Jason/ Sara

i applied asylum in 2015 feb and i did my interview In May 2015 since then i didnt get decision. i do tried several inquiries but with same response which is your case is pending for decision so now it is about three year since my interview.i am sick now and i may go for surgery soon and also i am under alot of stress becouse i am separated from my family about 10 years now of which 7 years i spent a third country and last three years in US. my mom is very sick also and she wants to see m in a third country but i cant go so what option do i have other than just waiting? i am thinking of mandamus lawsuit but i am scared of it cause them to deny my case?

thank you

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Nyc January 29, 2018 at 11:25 pm

If they diny your case is better than waiting for ever
And if they deny your case after that you will go to immigration court. That takes a couple year to finish
If they still hold your case your court process has not started.

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Jason Dzubow January 30, 2018 at 7:22 am

You can get Advance Parole to meet her in a third country (though be aware that if you get a decision, you may automatically lose AP). I wrote about that on September 11, 2017. Also, you can contact the asylum office and inform them of your health problems and that you need a decision. Maybe that would help. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Finally, you can try the USCIS Ombudsman – a link is at right, and if that does not work, a mandamus lawsuit. At this point, mandamus may be appropriate – talk to a lawyer about that. Take care, Jason

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Anonymous January 29, 2018 at 10:04 am

Hi Jason, my husband applied for student visa when he came, it was denied, based on the fact that he started the school before getting approval. The truth of the matter is that he didn’t go to the school at all, but the they said his name was in the school register which we don’t know how it got there. So our lawyer re-appeal, along the line I added him to my pending asylum case. The re appealing was also denied middle last year based on the same issue. My questions is hope it will not affect my pending asylum case during interview. What can he do to proof his innocence. Thanks.

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Jason Dzubow January 30, 2018 at 7:04 am

I doubt this would have any effect on the asylum case, but you can gather whatever evidence you have about his enrollment and application for the F visa. That way, if the asylum officer needs such evidence, you will have it. Take care, Jason

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Anonymous January 31, 2018 at 2:53 am

Thanks Jason. God bless you

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Samir January 29, 2018 at 5:46 am

Hi,
I have a green card based on an asylum case and my brother had a big surgery . I want to go to my country to see him just let you know my country in the list. Is there any risk anf if it is how to avoid it. Thank your help very appreciate.

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Jason Dzubow January 29, 2018 at 7:39 am

I think you take a risk if you go to your country; there is no way to avoid the risk (except by not going). If you must go, keep the trip as short as possible, and have evidence of why you went (his medical condition). Also, be prepared to explain why you went back and how you remained safe. Regardless, if you go there is some risk to your status – most likely the problem would arise when you apply for citizenship, but it could come up when you re-enter the US after your trip. Good luck, Jason

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George January 29, 2018 at 3:03 am

Hi Jason
I have a question, is there any way to expedite the i-485 application “ gc application “ after 1 year of asylum approval ? Its taking so so long, and some jobs related to my career require having a green card! Plus i have waited for 3 years to get my approval , and 1 year to apply for gc and now another year to just receive it !
Thanks

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Jason Dzubow January 29, 2018 at 7:36 am

You can ask USCIS to expedite the case. I doubt it will work, but there is no harm in trying. Take care, Jason

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Sim January 28, 2018 at 6:35 pm

Hi Sara or Jason is any one can tell me for first time ead we can send any passport size photo or do we need to follow any white background specification?

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Sara January 28, 2018 at 8:11 pm

Hi Sim,
Here’s the relevant part in the I-765 instructions:
You must submit two identical color photographs of yourself taken within 30 days of filing your application. The photos must have a white to off-white background, be printed on thin paper with a glossy finish, and be unmounted and unretouched.
The passport-style photos must be 2” by 2”. The photos must be in color with full face, frontal view on a white to off-white background. Head height should measure 1” to 1 3/8” from top to bottom of chin, and eye height is between 1 1/8’ to 1 3/8” from bottom of photo. Your head must be bare unless you are wearing headwear as required by a religious order of which you are a member. Using pencil or felt pen, lightly print your name and Alien Receipt Number on the back of the photo.

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Jason Dzubow January 29, 2018 at 7:29 am

Or best of all, just wait for Sara. Thank you, Jason

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Sim January 29, 2018 at 11:40 am

Hi
Thanks Sara and Jason for ur help .

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Jason Dzubow January 29, 2018 at 7:28 am

You should send two photos, and the instructions to the I-765 provide a link (I think to the State Department) about guidance for the photo. Better yet, go to CVS drugstore and tell them you need two US passport size photos – they will do that for you. Take care, Jason

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thetruth January 28, 2018 at 1:02 pm

Hi Jason,

First of all thank you for all of your help here. I have a question and instructions to I-131 is really confusing about this and I could not find it anywhere else. Instructions say that DACA recepeints can get advance parole for humanitarian, employment and education. Is that true only for them or we asylum seekers can get it for employment too? Have you had asylum clients who got it for employment or education? Also, if you can file one for employment, how much would you charge for such a service? Thanks in advance!

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Jason Dzubow January 29, 2018 at 7:16 am

I think the I-131 instructions do not address the situation of asylum seekers. However, if I remember correctly, USCIS want to see a humanitarian reason for the travel. Maybe the other reasons would work too, but I do not remember. USCIS is becoming more strict with such applications, and so maybe you could present your employment reason in humanitarian terms to convince them. As for me, you can email me and arrange a consultation if you want: jdzubow@dzubowlaw.com. We typically only do I-131 for people who are our clients, and so I am not sure what we would charge for a non-client. Take care, Jason

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Alex January 28, 2018 at 11:48 am

Hello dear Jason
Like allways thanks for all your effort and attentions
I have a question regarding my pending I-485 asylum based
I’ve got RFE after long time waiting for about 13 months from USCIS
They know requiring me to send the new medical exam report
But in the RFE there is no mailing address instructions, so should I send it back to the address with POBOX which is on the right top corner of the RFE letter ? I’m so confused about it and afraid of making any mistake which will cuase more delay

Thank you in advance and wish you a good day

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Jason Dzubow January 28, 2018 at 11:57 am

Usually, you send the response to the RFE to the same office that mailed you the RFE, so that is probably right. USCIS has been processing I-485s slowly, and so medical exams have been expiring for many people. Of course, it is a total waste of money and it is completely the fault of USCIS, but there is nothing much to do except get a new exam and send it again. This is happening to a lot of people. Take care, Jason

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Alex January 28, 2018 at 12:13 pm

Thank you so much for the quick response, Highly appreciate it

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El January 28, 2018 at 9:15 am

Jason, hi. Thank you so much for all of your support.
I had my interview. I don’t know how it was, I assume it was good. My concern now is my EDA. It’s been 10 months since I applied to renew it. My bank account is closed now, the cank need profe of residency. All documents I provide were expired and the 60 days extension on my EAD is already expired. My driver license is expired. So I don’t know what to do more? 3 inquiries on my file didn’t do anything, they even didn’t send me a paper just they sent an email saying that your file is in the line waiting for reviewing by an officer. . Is normal these days to wait for 10 months for renewal, or just i had my interview recently cuz them to stop the process in order to get an answer from asylum office?? Thank you so much for all of your support.

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Jason Dzubow January 28, 2018 at 11:52 am

The automatic extension is for 6 months, not 60 days. I wrote about that on January 25, 2017. I am not sure what you can do about this long delay. Maybe make an Info Pass appointment at http://www.uscis.gov and go in person to ask about the EAD. You can also try the USCIS Ombudsman – a link is at right, but they are not so fast. You might also want to inquire with the asylum office about your asylum 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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El January 28, 2018 at 9:37 pm

Thanks Jason, I meant 6 months, I used that. It’s already expired. And I did all you said, I have another appointment with USCIS soon. What kind of inquiry I can send to the asylum office? And how long after my interview I can do that. The officer told me they are waiting for background check from another department and what is that??
It’s been so hard for me here with these new regulations. I am really tired, I have an emergency things coming soon, and nothing is for me, all are just against. Just can’t be more patient.
Seriously I suffered alot in my country and in here… of course being here is a blessing but without fear of being deported. Well sorry to talk a lot. I just need someone to hear me. Thank you so much for your patience.

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Jason Dzubow January 29, 2018 at 7:32 am

The inquiry to the asylum office is just a request to know the status of your case. Also, if you have a specific health or other problem, you can remind them about that. If you have already done it, there is no reason to do it again for several months. Unfortunately, there is not much to be done for these waits after the interview. Hopefully, you will get a good decision soon. Good luck, Jason

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El January 29, 2018 at 12:29 pm

Thank you so much 😊. It’s encouraging.

Sara January 28, 2018 at 2:07 pm

Hey El,
Glad things went well at the interview! I’m very sorry you’re having all these problems because of the EAD delay. I would do as Jason advised and go there to find out what the delay is. You will be going there anyway for the decision, so you can schedule the Info Pass for the same day.
Hope it all works out for you 🙂 Keep us updated.
Best,
Sara

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El January 29, 2018 at 2:25 am

Sara, thank you so much for your support and sympathy.
I am just so confused for the next step, I am not sure if I am able to do anything regarding my case. Both my EDA, and my interview’s result. But it’s good to have your idea. At least I can compare mine with you.. thans

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Sara January 29, 2018 at 8:34 pm

Anytime, El. All the best with the decision. I hope you get your approval, and a final one at that because waiting on an RA to turn into a final approval gets old pritteeeee fast!

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EF January 27, 2018 at 11:15 pm

Hello Jason,

My interview is next week and my lawyer is not answering me or replying to my text messages , he keeps on giving me time to prepare me on the phone and doesn’t answer me my interview is this week . I don’t know what to do , do I have to submit a document to Asylum Office stating that he is not my lawyer . Please I need your advice I have depended mainly on your articles and blogs to prepare myself . Plz all pray for me

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Mohamed January 28, 2018 at 1:43 am

Im praying for u
Good luck
If you don’t mind can you shere your experience
Witch office and when u applied

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EF January 28, 2018 at 7:49 pm

It is Chicago Office

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Mohamed January 28, 2018 at 11:55 pm

Thank u im in Chicago office and I applied on Dec 2015
So please can u tell me when did u apply

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Jason Dzubow January 28, 2018 at 11:45 am

Your lawyer’s job is to prepare you for the interview and the lawyer is obliged to communicate with you. If not, you can file a bar complaint against him. I do not know whether you want to threaten to file a bar complaint if he does not respond – that is up to you, but obviously it will poison your relationship. You can also look for another lawyer to prepare you for the interview, but it is pretty last minute. I wrote about the asylum interview on September 8, 2016 – maybe that will help. Finally, you do not need to bring a lawyer to the interview, and if the lawyer is not assisting you, you may want to tell the asylum officer and ask that your lawyer be removed from your case, so that all mail goes only to you. Good luck, Jason

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EF January 28, 2018 at 12:42 pm

Thank you so much , I can’t thank u enough for all u r information .You are such a great person

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Carl January 29, 2018 at 3:35 am

Hello EF

I have also interview next week and my lawyer is also not answering anything to me but I will go to the interview without lawyer(if not answered).

Thanks

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Mohamed January 29, 2018 at 11:58 pm

Can you please shere you office
And witch month and year you applied??

Miss January 27, 2018 at 7:59 pm

Hi Jason, hiw long after the affirmative asylum approval should i receive the new i-94 card. Thank you for helping us

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Jason Dzubow January 28, 2018 at 11:38 am

When you receive the approval letter, it should come with an I-94 indicating your new status. Take care, Jason

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Ali January 27, 2018 at 6:50 pm

Hello jason
I really don’t know why I’m writing this post however I had my interview last week and I think it wasn’t good I was literally shaking I been waiting for the last 3 years to get a chance to tell the officer my story so I can see my son for the first time and now I waiting again for the decision.

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Nyc January 27, 2018 at 9:21 pm

What office you went to interview?

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Ali January 27, 2018 at 10:10 pm

Houston

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Nyc January 27, 2018 at 11:29 pm

Mine was Newark
I interviewed last week was not good as well

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Ali January 28, 2018 at 12:31 pm

I wish you the best of luck

Jason Dzubow January 28, 2018 at 11:38 am

It can be very stressful. I will say that you often cannot predict the outcome of a case based on the interview. You may have felt it went badly, but hopefully it will be fine. Good luck, Jason

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Thomas January 27, 2018 at 3:22 pm

Does anyone on this blog (pending asylees or asylees) bank with Chase? I tried opening a checking account there today and I got denied. The agent said I eaither needed a US passport or a greencard. She wouldn’t take my EAD or my asylum letter. I already have an account with Bank of America, but I’m not happy with them. Any thoughts anyone?

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Sara January 27, 2018 at 3:25 pm

Hi Thomas,
Same thing happened to me. And that was after I had checked over the phone that the documents I have satisfy their requirements.
Chase will have to wait, I guess.

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Nyc January 27, 2018 at 4:03 pm

Go to dmv to get Driver license or State ID
You will be good for all banks

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Thomas January 27, 2018 at 4:11 pm

I gave them my state ID, they didn’t accept it. They said “only a US passprt or a greencard.”

Looks like Chase does have to wait ugh

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Sara January 27, 2018 at 9:25 pm

State ID didn’t work for me either.

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Sara January 27, 2018 at 9:29 pm

P.S. Their requirements were not as stringent not so long ago.
I’m told other banks are more lenient.

Jamie January 27, 2018 at 4:08 pm

Hi Thomas,

This hapenned to me too and I wrote the CEO of credit cards a scathing email. I got a response from his assistant. She basically emailed me an act that reinforced my points, and asked me for the address of the branch I went to. I basically let them know that they are being discriminatory, because there are people residing lawfully in the US who are neither citizens nor green card holders, and who work and satisfy the Identification requirement. US passport or GC is not a requirement to open an checking account. Needless to say, I gave her a few recommendations and told her that I would never use CHASE, even if I become citizen, and that I was going to discourage non-citizens from using their services.What boggles my mind is that most of the time checking accounts are usually used for keeping YOUR hard earned money, or to make deposits and withdrawals. I can just imagine what the requirements are for getting a loan from them.

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Thomas January 27, 2018 at 5:46 pm

A blood sample maybe. Or one of your children to hold as ransom haha

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Jason Dzubow January 28, 2018 at 11:33 am

Good for you. Why they would not want your business (and your money) is beyond me. Take care, Jason

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Nevadi January 28, 2018 at 12:59 am

I bank with chase. I used my new york state id to opend the accout wich was 2013. They didnt say i cant..

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Sara January 28, 2018 at 11:04 am

Hi Nevadi,
Yes, they changed the requirements a year or two ago.
We have an account under my husband’s name because he already had an SSN when we moved here in 2014.
They refused to add me as a joint account holder in 2016, though, citing recent changes in their requirements as the reason for that.

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Mohamed January 28, 2018 at 1:45 am

Pnc great bank

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Jason Dzubow January 28, 2018 at 11:32 am

This is surprising, and you might try elevating to a higher level. You might also decide to take your business elsewhere. I have not heard about people having such problems before. In their defense, asylum is not a common status, and they are probably not familiar with it. But if they want your business, they should figure it out. Take care, Jason

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Jamie January 28, 2018 at 2:25 pm

Jason, I am sorry, but I don’t think they have any defense. America is a huge country; people from all over the world come here to work, study, and do business who are neither citizens nor green card holders. This doesn’t only happen to asylum seekers or asylees from what I gathered. An institution as big as CHASE should know that there are lawful persons who work and live in the US but are neither citizens nor green card holders. Essentially what CHASE is saying is that TPS and DACA recipients, asylees, refugees, applicants for asylum, J1 and H2 visa workers, F1 (university students), students who graduate from STEM majors and opt to work in the US after, etc. can’t open a checking account so their employers can deposit their pay in. I firmly believe that they instituted the changes with the objective of affecting undocumented immigrants in a negative way.

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Sara January 28, 2018 at 3:45 pm

Hi Jamie,
I wasn’t told a valid passport would work, even a non-US one, so they weren’t making it sound discriminatory (at least when I was there).

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Jamie January 28, 2018 at 4:13 pm

Sara, I presented my valid, unexpired passport with valid US visa, state ID, unrestricted social security card, EAD card, bills, proof of address, stamped I-94 with asylum grant, school status letter, and pay slips (have been working for almost 3 years), but was still denied. Mind you, I was trying to open a checking account to have my hard earned money deposited in the checking account. Are we saying that Bank of America, Capital One, TD, etc. are doing something wrong when they allow people like us to open a checking account, or is it that CHASE is doing something that they really shouldn’t be doing?

Tina January 28, 2018 at 9:39 pm

Capital one just approved an unsecured credit card for me. I am just using it to build credit, because if I get approved, I will buy a house, so I just use it for grocery.I opened an account with wells fargo before I even started working. I financed 2016 car from Santander USA and paying it off with the speed of light.Can you remind me again what business Chase does, because I do not remember?😀 Guys, the above people need our businesses, find them and work with them.

Sara January 28, 2018 at 10:28 pm

Was* told

Jason Dzubow January 29, 2018 at 7:18 am

Top clarify, I am not defending them – they are in the wrong ethically, and possibly legally. But I understand why they could be confused, since there are so many different status and this is not an issue they would be used to dealing with. Of course, other banks seem to get it, so why don’t they? Take care, Jason

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Scopa January 28, 2018 at 8:39 pm

They denied mine too!I just ignored them; it is not a big deal! I like bank of America and enjoying their service, period!!

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Ivon January 30, 2018 at 12:52 am

Try Bank of America. I came in as a F1 student before I applied for asylum and they had a branch in my college town and would essentially have flyers asking students for opening accounts. Not sure if they changed their terms now. If not you can always try credit unions. You have a legal status so I’m not sure why they shouldn’t let you do it. Is there any specific reason you are looking for Chase?

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Jamie January 26, 2018 at 3:18 pm

To be completely honest, I enjoy a titillating, healthy, civilized and intelligent discussion; however, I hate a discussion or debate that relies heavily on ad hominem and disrespect. I feel like we can put forward our opinions without mentioning our statuses/hurling disrespects.

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zac January 26, 2018 at 1:50 pm

Hi, Jason

I didn’t include my I-94 number in the application I-589

but I included my passport number and type of visa

would this be a problem ?

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Jason Dzubow January 26, 2018 at 3:34 pm

I doubt it – you can add that info when you have your interview. You can also submit a copy of your I-94 prior to the interview, in accordance with the asylum office rules. Take care, Jason

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zac January 28, 2018 at 1:22 am

how can I submit that ?
I send it after they scheduled for the interview
or I take it with me to the interview?

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Jason Dzubow January 28, 2018 at 11:48 am

You can submit evidence prior to the interview, and so you can submit a copy of your I-94. Or you can just tell them at the interview. I do not think it is a big deal either way, but there is no harm in submitting it ahead of time. Take care, Jason

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Suleman Javed January 25, 2018 at 5:24 pm

I’m just blog follower around 2 years or more and got some great advices from attorney who runs this page but seems like these days I have to read unprofessional peoples opinion first rather than having professional advice which can be authenticated and be helpful I’m here not to point anybody personally but one girl comments I found more than attorney in last few weeks I guess her name is Sara and I don’t think it’s appropriate to write something until you are not professional and may be try to helpful but it can turn out worst and you might not know,so yeah don’t think that’s fun page to write your stories but can leave on the real person and find fruitful answer!
Thanks.

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Jamie January 25, 2018 at 5:51 pm

Suleman Javed,

Are you being serious right now?

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Sara January 25, 2018 at 5:52 pm

Hey, “one girl” here. Thank you for your fruitful comment.
I’m not sure if your little rant is supposed to discourage me from posting on this blog, or if you’re just venting. Either way, I’m not going anywhere. 🙂

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Suleman Javed January 26, 2018 at 4:03 am

You don’t feel insult that’s for sure!

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Sara January 26, 2018 at 10:11 am

Not at all. I only feel emboldened by a feeble attempt at silencing me.

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Jason Dzubow January 26, 2018 at 6:49 am

Actually, her comments here have been quite useful. If you are not interested in reading them, I am sure there are other websites that you can go to for help. Take care, Jason

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Joe January 26, 2018 at 8:58 am

Sorry to read this Sara , all kinds of people here, It’s part of being in society .

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Sara January 26, 2018 at 10:14 am

Thank you, Jason, and thank you Joe — such is the Internet jungle.
Growing up where I did, I’m used to men trying to silence outspoken women. Didn’t take it back then and not about to take it now, so it’s all good. 🙂

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Thomas January 26, 2018 at 6:17 pm

Actually she can say whatever she wants. Its literally the first amendment. If you’re having a hard time accepting this reality, I suggest you still keep your hush hush mentality back were you came from.

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L.F January 26, 2018 at 8:56 pm

“Just a blog follower”… this blog and comments here helped you to win your case I’m sure… People here are to help each other, not to try to insult or argue. If you don’t agree with something or someone here , you can comment but don’t like this to mention names and offend people., because some of us we have family and friends here too who follows this blog OK.
You don’t like, you leave that’s all.
I really appreciate the “the one girl”, she and all others helped me a Lot. Jason & all you guys here , you are awesome, don’t let that ignorant like this guy here to stop you.
God bless & take care

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JN January 26, 2018 at 10:19 pm

Sara is of great help. She always refers people to past blogs you may have missed. I am suprised you are attacking her. Also, she didn’t respond to any of your questions. I don’t see why you’re concerned. Plus she always asks people to wait for Jason’s response.

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Sara January 26, 2018 at 10:47 pm

Thanks a lot, Thomas, L.F. & JN. It really warmed my heart to see the familiar names who actually have a clue about the content I post on this blog, stand up for me. I appreciate you all, and appreciate your kind words.
Have a great weekend, guys. 🙂

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Marvia January 25, 2018 at 4:05 pm

“In the rush to implement The Law, the Administration has lost sight of justice. And of humanity” Wise words. In my opinion, this is an unfortunate case, and as previously stated, Mr. Rranxburgaj’s story lays bare the conflict between enforcing the immigration law and showing mercy in a sympathetic case. He was allowed to stay in the country due to some humanitarian reasons. Now, I cannot help but wonder, Is this humanitarian reason not a reason anymore? did his wife with Multiple Sclerosis got better? is her illness not considered a humanitarian reason for him to stay legally with his sick wife? well, it seems like the trump administration can care less about the suffering of others. So Sara, although you have your own opinion about this case, and no one should disrespect it, I cannot agree with you, and I strongly believe that you are focusing only in the law and ignoring humanity. So please please please, go online and do some research about MS, and then ask yourself if you still believe that this man is doing wrong by wanting to stay with his family and that taking the decision of seeking protection in a church was a “trick”.

Best of luck.

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Sara January 25, 2018 at 4:33 pm

Marvia & Jamie,
I hope you don’t mind me responding to you both in one comment.
You both have a very valid argument, and I can definitely see where my opinion falls short on the humanitarian level. The issue is a little black and white to me from the standpoint of the law, but I was also wondering why the humanitarian reasons that were once valid are no longer valid now. I guess it is naive of me to think that that was investigated or taken into consideration at all when we know full well what the current administration is setting out to do.
At the end of the day, if Jason with his vast knowledge of the law believes this man should stay, then I am inclined to agree with him regardless of how little I sympathize with the way this was handled by Mr. R. Jamie takes into account the man’s desperation, and I cannot argue with that as a possible reason for the way he acted when we know so little about his case and the persecution he’s fleeing.

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Jason Dzubow January 26, 2018 at 6:48 am

“Vast knowledge” – that’s funny. Anyway, I can say that the idea of mercy (more officially known as “discretion”) is contained in many parts of the immigration law. The BIA and courts have provided some guidance in how to exercise discretion, but it is largely up to the adjudicator, which often leads to inconsistent decisions in similar-seeming cases. In any event, in Mr. R’s case, ICE has complete discretion and he is simply at their mercy. They can be capricious and change their mind – as they did – but to me, that does not make it right. The cruelty of ICE has been on flu display lately. Maybe it is possible to strictly enforce immigration law and to be humane, but that ain’t ICE. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow January 25, 2018 at 6:49 pm

I think this is an important point – ICE made a determination that Mr. R could stay for humanitarian reasons in 2009 (I think it was 2009). Now, in 2017, they decided he must go. In fact, it seems his wife’s condition has worsened (she had a stroke), so the only change may be that we have a new Administration in charge. If we give ICE the benefit of the doubt (which is being VERY generous), maybe they figure the children can take care of their mom. But one child has DACA, which is expiring soon, and the other is pretty young (I forget – maybe 15 or 17), and so these children are not really able to care for their mother. I just think ICE has lost touch with humanity. Take care, Jason

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Jamie January 25, 2018 at 4:04 pm

Sara,

Though he was given “temporary stay/status”, the reason for the temporary stay has not ceased to exist: His wife is still completely reliant on him for emotional, financial and physical support. I am a bit perplexed as to the reason, apart from the undeniable fact that his humanitarian status was temporary, for the cessation of the humanitarian status. Temporary statuses, like TPS, asylee, conditional green card, etc., are only to be taken away if things have substantially changed such that the status is no longer needed. All the statuses that I have just mentioned are discretionarily given and are humanitarian in nature.

Let’s say, for example, it is a cultural practice for husbands to beat their wives/for fathers to beat their daughters because they have decided to go school. Wife/daughter decided to flee to the US because her life is at risk. If I am not mistaken, these kinds of cases, or the laws surrounding these cases, are not “codified” or enshrined. As such, for whatever reason, she was given temporary stay or humanitarian stay. An administration came in and decided to rescind this status, without taking into consideration the reason for the status, simply because it was temporary.

I strongly believe that when it comes to humanitarian reliefs everything must be taken into consideration so as to not cause harm to the individual.

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Tina January 26, 2018 at 11:53 pm

Keyword: HUMANITARIAN…Does not exist that much presently. On the other hand, if Ice decides to crack down on sham marriages and leave hurting people who need protection alone, they will need over time and extra deportation air planes eventually. My point: No such humanitarian consideration in this present time.Survival of the ‘smartest’..’The end justifies the means. Americans getting paid to provide path to”citizenship”.I wonder what the consequences are if they get caught.The law applied with street sense works for ICE and this administration.Some of us are to broken, honest and decent to wash our hands with mud water. Hope I did not derail too much from the point.

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Iltad January 25, 2018 at 2:44 pm

Hay, Sara, only shame on you like such comments. You are just come few months ago and talking about US immigration system. Your status is only recommended approval and if you are denied where you go bcz you already declared that you are in trouble if you go back your country.

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Sara January 25, 2018 at 3:09 pm

When I shared the highlights of my case on here, I did it for it to be helpful to others but I suppose that’s what you open the door for when you share information online.
I don’t see what the status of my case has to do with this man’s case. I am not breaking any laws by staying here until a decision is made on my case, nor do I intend to break the law regardless of the outcome, so don’t worry about me.

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alex January 30, 2018 at 12:09 pm

I think you opened the door when you judged Mr. R by saying “… pull off the church trick”. That said I respect your opinion and appreciate your help on this forum.

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Jamie January 25, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Iltad, thank you for expressing your concerns and or opinions!

I want you to know that we appreciate everyone’s concerns/opinions (and we can agree and disagree with each other), but please be sensitive and respectful to other people’s opinions. Our statuses should not be used against us to bring across your opinion. After all, I would want to imagine that we are all in the same boat and essentially share the same objective. This doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t put forward your opinions strongly. Please, just do it with respect and an awareness that you might be hurting someone else’s feelings.

I don’t want to argue this. Just please be mindful.

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Jason Dzubow January 25, 2018 at 6:42 pm

This seems completely irrelevant to her point, so I an not sure what you are trying to say. Take care, Jason

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Jamie January 26, 2018 at 2:21 pm

Hi Jason,

Are you responding to me or Iltad when you say “This seems completely irrelevant to her point…”?

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Sara January 26, 2018 at 2:30 pm

Positive he was addressing the other person, Jamie.
And thank you standing up for me 🙂
Mr. R’s case has turned into the people vs. Sara LOL
I really appreciated the discussion with you yesterday. When I told my husband about Mr. R’s case, his opinion was exactly like yours, and he told me that this is another one of these things where I apply my (probably very flawed) black and white logic — I do this a lot IRL!
Thanks again, most awesomest Jamie 🙂

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Jamie January 26, 2018 at 3:24 pm

Sara,

LOL thank you for letting me know that your husband agrees with me. And, no worries. I understand that discussions can become impassioned, but I just don’t want our little “forum” to become one where we start attacking each other on a personal level. This blog has offered me a lot emotional support and I learn a lot from it, too. I want it to remain that way.

Jason Dzubow January 26, 2018 at 3:39 pm

I think it was for the other person – when I respond to comments, I do it from “inside” the blog, and sometimes when it posts it is confusing (my technical skills are, generously put, quite limited). sorry, Jason

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Jamie January 26, 2018 at 5:45 pm

Hi Jason, thanks for the clarification. I am not so technical myself LOL

Tina January 26, 2018 at 11:55 pm

Your anger is misplaced, but I think Sarah understands.Fortunately for you, Jason is too kind and nice to start blocking people on this blog.

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Iltad January 25, 2018 at 2:40 pm

Hay
only shame on you.

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Zac January 25, 2018 at 2:28 pm

Nice article Jason
So Mr.Ded Rranxburgaj should be deported because of the rule of law, but Mr. Joe Arpaio got a pardon for breaking this law.

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Jason Dzubow January 25, 2018 at 6:41 pm

And maybe Joe will be the next Senator from AZ. Lovely. Take care, Jason

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Sara January 25, 2018 at 11:08 am

Hi Jason,
Thank you for another great post.
Your analysis of this situation, this conundrum, is definitely one I agree with but I am not as sympathetic as you are with regards to this man’s case (let’s call him Mr. R because holy last name, Batman).
So Mr. R was allowed to stay after his case was denied and his appeal was rejected, and he was then shown some mercy by ICE who allowed him to remain out of custody while his travel arrangements were being made, yet he decided to pull off the church trick. Not cool, Mr. R.
In my opinion, a man of good character would obey the law that showed him mercy. It’s a very unfortunate situation, and his family being ripped apart is a real tragedy, but he was never told he would be allowed to stay here indefinitely. His removal order is in implementation, and he must comply.
This may sound harsh to many people, and I do agree with you that the law should be implemented on a case by case basis, taking all factors into consideration, but the bottom line now is that this man is taking advantage of the very laws that offered him some protection in the past. He doesn’t get a lot of sympathy from me in this regard.

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Jamie January 25, 2018 at 1:48 pm

Hi Sara,

I hope you are doing well today!

I have to wholeheartedly disagree with you on this one.

First of all, we don’t know all the facts of this man’s case; we can’t infer or assume, even if his case was denied by the courts. I have a friend whose case was rejected by the asylum office and the court even though he had a straightforward and easy case. I guess this is one reason for the disparities in grant of approvals and denials. That doesn’t mean he is not going to do everything humanly possible to avoid danger. My friend eventually won his case after several appeals, a psychologically draining process, judicial reviews, and most importantly, an unwavering determination to be given a chance at life.

Losing an asylum case (for whatever reason) and refusing to leave because you fear danger and you have familial ties to the US-especially if you are the sole provider in every way-should never be classified as illegal or bad. If so, we should consider crossing the US/Canadian border as illegal or bad. We should also consider as illegal or bad those who lie on visa applications to escape danger, marry US citizens to escape danger, come to the US with falsified travel documents to escape danger, etc. In light of the aforesaid, why can’t we provide this man with the same kind of sympathy?

Furthermore, if my memory serves me right, Trump did say he was going to go after undocumented immigrants who are a threat to the US and who commit(ted) crimes. He didn’t say he was going to go after people who are law-abiding residents/ those who pose no threat whatsoever to the US. It seems to me, from studying the cases of the people who ICE has detained so far since Trump became president, that they are going after everyone, even if they have legal status.

They have already gone after “chain migration” and visa lottery winners, so I would not be surprised if they start going after people with asylum and people who are green card holders through asylum. I believe we would be singing a different song if this started happening.

I think what we are failing to realize is that this administration has campaigned, and won, on xenophobic rhetoric. And, we are not immune to the daily anti-immigrant chants and actions. The proverbial net has been cast and cast very widely.

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Sara January 25, 2018 at 3:00 pm

Hi Jamie,
Nice hearing from you, as always.
You raise many valid points, and none that I disagree with when it comes to the current administration and its policies.
I knew that my take on Mr. R’s case was not going to be a popular one, but it is my opinion based on the information provided about his case. He wasn’t given lifelong immunity from deportation when he was allowed to stay, he wasn’t granted asylum status, so if this were to happen to an asylee I would very well be singing a different tune because that would be changing the law — which is not the case here. Both are people fleeing persecution and seeking a chance at life as you put it, but one was granted temporary stay while the other, the asylee, is granted a permanent stay by law.
I also didn’t mean to imply that his case deserved to be denied because he wasn’t granted asylum. I am not familiar with his case, and even if he didn’t present a case that was eligible for asylum, I still believe that ripping his family apart is harsh and unnecessary for a law-abiding man who has lived here for 17 years without causing any trouble. The way I see it, though, is that the law is the law and that it was on his side for the years that he has lived here, keeping him and his family protected.
Having said all that, I do hope his lawyer will be successful in the stay of removal request, so that he may have a fair chance to present his case again and be able to stay here lawfully.

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Jason Dzubow January 25, 2018 at 6:40 pm

I agree with you about the Trump Administration – and I also think it is starting to impact asylum seekers and asylees. I know of one case of a man granted asylum and his case was reopened and he was threatened with termination. I know and trust his lawyer, and she says that his asylum case was well corroborated. He has been someone active in asylum world, and I wonder if that led to his problem. That said, I do not agree with the idea that people should engage in a fraud in order to escape danger. I understand why they do it, but if they do not give the system a chance to adjudicate the case in the first place, I am not sympathetic when they get into trouble. In the case of Mr. R, I did not include it, but I think his asylum case was based on religion. Conditions in Albania have changed, and I do not think there is any real danger that he will be persecuted if he returns (as far as I have read from news articles). His case is noteworthy because his wife is ill and she cannot travel to be with him. It is an example of where mercy was appropriate, and of how ICE no longer believes in mercy. Take care, Jason

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Jamie January 26, 2018 at 2:44 pm

Jason,

I am not sympathetic to people who do fraudulent things to get asylum or come to the US. There are people, however, who have no choice but to do it. Let’s say, for example, your government refuses to give you a travel document to leave the country so you can escape persecution. I would want to imagine that you are going to do whatever you can to acquire the document so you can leave. BUT, I strongly believe that you should inform USICS/EOIR that you acquired the document fraudulently because of the situation you found yourself in. USCIS/the courts shouldn’t have to discover that your documents were acquired fraudulently because you didn’t apprise them of the fraudulently acquired document. If you try to deceive the US government, then you should be prepared for the consequences.

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Jason Dzubow January 26, 2018 at 3:43 pm

I agree with this – and there is a long history of fake documents. In fact, my ancestors in 19th Century Europe would have been “illegal” in many respects simply because they were Jews. I also understand why people would not trust governments in general, and why they might choose to lie to the US government (they had to lie to their home governments to survive, and they do not understand that the US government is – hopefully – a better system). So I am sympathetic to such people. However, when they move to a new country, they are obliged to learn our system and behave accordingly. Even if it is understandable that they fail to do so, I think we cannot tolerate lying – if we did, it would do great damage to our immigration system. Take care, Jason

Tina January 27, 2018 at 12:15 am

And to add to your point: You must not come from sh*** hole country, must not live or have lived in a hurt, must attach your HIV status to all applications😀.

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Tina January 27, 2018 at 12:50 am

‘Hut’ I meant

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Jason Dzubow January 25, 2018 at 6:32 pm

I must admit I have mixed feeling about this situation, and had I been writing this pre-Trump, I might have written it differently. But these days, DHS has become so aggressive and devoid of mercy (and often dishonest) that I think they need to be opposed to the maximum extent possible. The more difficult it is for them to remove any one person, the slower the process. I can’t say I have reached the level of the Reverend’s tattoo, but I’m closer to that than Socrates. Anyway, I see for once, several people have actually commented about the article itself, so that is nice, even if one of them needs a scolding. Take care, Jason

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Sara January 25, 2018 at 6:41 pm

Can I just say that I had originally prefaced my comment saying that I meant for the first post to be about the actual article rather than a question because a lot of the time I feel that the blog posts don’t get the credit they deserve?
So yes, I too am glad that this has turned into a discussion — thorny here and there but nothing I can’t handle.
I agree with what you said about DHS, and I admit to the naivety that I based my comment on.

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Jason Dzubow January 26, 2018 at 6:54 am

Actually, I am very happy to get people who disagree with me (even though I am always right, of course), so I am glad for the comment. I once started a post, which maybe I will go back to one day, comparing debate on the internet to road rage. It is too easy to be angered by the comment without considering that you are in discussion with an actual human being and acting as you would if you were face-to-face. That is the nature of things on the internet. We need a new Ms. Manners for the digital age….

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Sara January 26, 2018 at 10:07 am

As a student, we had a debating course where the teacher would pick the topic and then assign us to pro and against regardless of how we actually felt about the subject. You could be pro-choice, and find yourself in the pro-life camp. It was all part of the exercise, and it helped me accept and understand why the other side feels the way that it does on certain topics that may have been non-negotiable to me in the past.
I had to look up Ms. Manners, and will be reading the archives all day by the looks of it. She definitely needs to take on the keyboard warriors of the digital age.

Kris January 26, 2018 at 2:02 pm

Let me ask you this since you say you have RA..Why should you be granted Asylum? Why does your security must matter to the US when it’s okay to rip apart Mr.R’s family? Why is your case a humanitarian but his isn’t? Law allows DHS to grant you asylum and law also allows DHS to defer his individual case. In your post, not once you mentioned the underlying factor of his case- his wife’s sickness and stroke.

I could be wrong but I highly doubt you are what you say you are. I don’t believe you are an Asylum seeker. If its true it’s a shame why you would do that.

But if I were wrong and you in fact are an asylum seeker let’s say they sign a new a law requiring Asylees must leave the country in 20 years. 20 years is enough time for stability in most countries and in 20 years most people won’t even recognize you to harm you. And say in 20 years you have a sick husband and minor child, you too will find yourself in a Church’s basement.

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Kris January 26, 2018 at 2:07 pm

I forget to mention this but before you go to a Church basement in 20 years, I suspect you too will carve these words on your shoulders: When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.

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Sara January 26, 2018 at 2:15 pm

Hi Kris,
You’ve given yourself the right to accuse me of lying, and seem to have decided you know me well enough to predict what my future tattoo choices and placement will be.
As such, I cannot respond to your comment. I am all for civilized discussion, and only that.
P.S. If your country conditions change after your grant of asylum in such a way that you no longer face a threat of persecution, your case may very well be reopened and you go back home. It’s in the fine print already, so I will have to suggest further reading for you.

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Kris January 26, 2018 at 2:51 pm

Civilized discussion in support of uncivilized consequences. That’s a high road to take. And I am not accusing you of lying. I suspect you of lying. My sentence begins with “I could be wrong”. And tattoo was a joke. You are really bad with sense of humors.

Tina January 27, 2018 at 12:28 am

He did not say you lied. My understanding of his comment is”,If you really suffered persecution, you should know what it will feel like to be sent back to your country of feared persecution. If you have ever had a sick loved one, you should know what it feels like to be separated from them. If you have family, it should hurt to know that you are going to be separated from. These points are enough to drive anyone to the church basement. Positive desperation from my point of view. What will this man be going back to after 17 years.

Jason Dzubow January 26, 2018 at 3:36 pm

Ouch – it was a tattoo – she did not carve it on her arm!

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Jason Dzubow January 26, 2018 at 3:36 pm

I think the premise of your point is incorrect. The difference is that Sara has followed the law. Mr. R has not followed the law – he applied for asylum, was denied, was allowed to remain by ICE, but then ICE changed its mind and wants him to go. If he were to continue following the law, he would leave. I support him because I think the law is being implemented unjustly in his case, but he is violating the law. Take care, Jason

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Kris January 26, 2018 at 4:32 pm

I understand the difference between following the law and being on the mercy of the enforcers. I accept the fact that no law requires us to be kind and people are entitled to their own opinions.

I am just outraged why DHS would unjustly do that when it didn’t have to. And I am definitely outraged when someone supports it. Even if someone supports the policy I believe it is ignorant to say they are not sympathetic to them. It’s a straight forward case of family separation for christ sake. Guy is about to lose his family! That being said everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

But I think opinion is all that matters eventually. When we don’t speak out (or support) against unjust laws and policies, unjust laws and policies never change. There should have been some kind law to protect people in the situation of Mr. R. Sara followed the law because there was a law to protect her. Otherwise, I am highly inclined to believe she too would find herself in the situation of Mr. R.

If strictly following the law is the only way to live a life..Slavery was once law, Women’s inability to vote was once the law. I totally support Mr. R’s action in this case. I would do the same thing if I was about to lose my family.

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Jason Dzubow January 26, 2018 at 6:09 pm

I also support him in this case. However, I also believe our nation has a right to set out own laws, including our immigration law. People who violate the law must face the consequences. The problem in Mr. R’s case is that the law is being enforced without mercy. And what makes it worse, he was allowed to stay based on humanitarian reasons, and then ICE changed its mind for no known reason (except that we have a new Administration). These days, where the law is being mindless and ruthlessly enforced, I am much more sympathetic to people like Mr. R than I was before Trump, when there was some discretion, mercy, and decency in enforcement (though not always, as the mess at the border demonstrated in 2012-17). Take care, Jason

Tina January 27, 2018 at 12:39 am

Liking you., Brilliant Posits make liking sense😆

Jamie January 27, 2018 at 4:38 pm

I agree with all of the comments. There should be laws in place- and these laws must be followed- to allow for order in any country or society. However, we all can agree that laws do “evolve” and “devolve”- marriage equality and Jim Crow laws, for example. We can also agree, for humanitarian sake, that applying an existing law can sometimes cause severe harm or damage. In this regard, we can use DACA recipients as an example. I take it that we all agree, taking the US immigration laws into consideration, that it would be inhumane, impractical, and possibly destructive if DACA recipients were to be deported in large numbers because the laws were broken (this is not to say I agree with the root cause of DACA.)

Tina January 27, 2018 at 12:35 am

The man followed the law too, he applied for asylum. He could also have followed the law through a sham marriage to an American citizen. In present day USA, law precedes truth and compassion, so the end now justifies the means. He was less fortunate than people who got approved, simply.

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Tina January 27, 2018 at 12:48 am

And by the way, liking you was meant for Kris. No words to explain Jason’s kindness, tolerance and compassion.

Jason Dzubow January 28, 2018 at 11:23 am

Or he got denied because he did not meet the legal requirements for asylum. Regardless, he is now violating the law by refusing to leave. In his particular case, the law is being implanted unjustly, but he is still violating the law. Socrates would not approve. Take care, Jason

Tina January 27, 2018 at 12:21 am

😕 bitter but true dear Sarah..We should all relate to this case with empathy . Thanks for being respectful, Kris

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Sara January 27, 2018 at 12:32 am

Actually, this person wasn’t respectful. He (assuming he’s a man) called me a potential liar, thenhad the audacity to mansplain to me why he denied me the privilege of a civilized discussion, and then went on to call my stance on the subject ignorant.
Hardly sounds respectful, Tina. And I’m only responding here because of your comment that I wanted to address.

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Tina January 27, 2018 at 12:41 am

😤😤You are loved here and you are being corrected in love.

Tina January 27, 2018 at 12:09 am

Dear Sarah, mmmmmh. The man in question could have been any one of us. Did you read the part that he has been here for 17 years and his immediate family nembers are all here? Com’on dear. Compassion/humanitarian consideration was Jason’s point. Remember, he might have had a different outcome from another judge, and the same uncertainty awaits us all.It’s in the hands of AOs and judges. Would you like to go back to your place of persecution if you get denied? Would you not use any decent means possible to remain in this land of freedom? An anti immigration AO or judge would say no to any case. Much love !

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Sara January 27, 2018 at 12:29 am

Hi Tina! Hope you’ve been well 🙂
I agree with you all that my comment sounded harsh, and didn’t seem to take into account the man’s hardship or the fact that his family’s future is at stake.
The thing is, I was only saying that I have no sympathy because of the way he handled things. It sounded devious to me and the way I saw it was, you can’t pick and choose when to abide by the law depending on how well it serves you. I’m usually better at putting myself in others’ shoes, but I failed to do so sufficiently in Mr. R’s case to see that he may very well have been acting out of desperation, and sought sanctuary in the church as a last resort to keep his family safe.
When I went to get my visitor’s visa to come here with the intention of seeking asylum, I did so with a knot in my stomach because it felt deceptive but there was no other way to do it.
All I’m saying is that I get it, and I also know why my sympathy was initially lacking.
One thing I said from the start of this discussion that still stand by is that I would never wish to see his family get ripped apart, and that going after him, someone who has lived here for 17 years not causing trouble, is unnecessary. I hope he’s able to present his case again, and is granted some lawful status here.

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Tina January 27, 2018 at 12:45 am

😊😊Honey, stop explaining this. You made a mistake, you did not weigh the man’s dilemna sufficiently before your comment. It was a mistake, we accept it as one and you are still Jason’s PA😅😅Much love!

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Sara January 27, 2018 at 1:43 am

Chief Executive Minion was on the table at some point….
Thank you, Tina. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

Tina January 27, 2018 at 9:03 am

The same to you and I hope my typos are ignored.I type on a semi smart phone😭

Jason Dzubow January 28, 2018 at 11:19 am

Perhaps too much sympathy caused a counter-reaction that led to the election of Mr. Trump. I wrote something about that on May 23, 2016. Take care, Jason

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Tina January 28, 2018 at 9:45 pm

😀 Perhaps, America is/was the greatest country in the world because of too much sympathy. That is why I always say, ‘she owes me nothing’

Kris January 29, 2018 at 3:52 pm

However, as a regular follower of this blog and having seen your comments many times in the past, I would like to thank you for your other comments which are almost always helpful. That’s certainly something that needs appreciation. And please stop hallucinating about being yourself a victim of sexism. No one here is trying to silence a outspoken women or mansplain you. We are simply advocating for a sick woman to remain with her husband.

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Sara January 29, 2018 at 8:39 pm

Hallucinating? There are people who follow this blog that don’t need to read a back and forth of this nature, so I will just leave it at that with no further comment.

Jason Dzubow January 26, 2018 at 3:31 pm

We do that in law school too. If you can’t argue the opposite side, you really can’t argue for your own side.

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Jason Dzubow January 28, 2018 at 11:16 am

The problem with this viewpoint is that it eventually negates the immigration law, and anyone who has been here for long enough gets to stay. I do believe our country has a right to regulate immigration. I just think the law needs to be enforced with compassion and common sense. That is not the case with Mr. R and his family, and so for that reason, I support him. In a less sympathetic case, I might conclude that the person should go, even though I feel bad for the person and I think our immigration law needs reform. Take care, Jason

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Tina January 28, 2018 at 9:52 pm

I agree Jason. The law of the land should be respected and America’s compassion not taken for granted.

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Sara January 28, 2018 at 4:18 pm

The lady was getting ready to add me to my husband’s account, then said she can’t finish the process when she saw that my passport was expired. It had just expired the month before and I was not aware of that at the time.
She said everything checks out except the expired passport.
I guess they’re that incompetent if I was told one thing over the phone, another thing when I went there in person (that visit I was told I just need a state ID which I didn’t have because phone guy said I was good to go with what I had), and another thing when I went in with the state ID but expired passport.
It’s no wonder they told you something else entirely! Looks like their employees are in need of some training that they would be able to afford if they didn’t discriminate against people opening up accounts based on their immigration status. 😏

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Jason Dzubow January 31, 2018 at 7:19 am

By the way, if you do have to file the I-602, it is a very powerful waiver, and you should have a very high chance of success. In fact, it is almost unimaginable that it would not work, so I do not think there is really much danger of losing your status, as long as you tell the truth on the form. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow January 31, 2018 at 7:16 am

Again, different attorney might answer differently, but I think you should wait to file the I-602 only if they request it. Then you will know better what their position is, and what is expected of you. Please do let us know what happens, as that will help others. Thank you, Jason

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