The Asylum Office Is Getting Tougher (Probably)

by Jason Dzubow on February 7, 2018

Last week, the Asylum Division changed the way it processes cases. Instead of interviewing asylum cases in the order they were filed (first-in, first-out), cases will now be interviewed on a last-in, first-out or LI-FO basis. We’ve been learning more about the reasons for this change, and I want to share what I’ve heard here. But before I get to that, I want to discuss another important change that has recently become apparent: The dramatic drop in grant rates for cases at most asylum offices.

The new Asylum Officer training regimen.

The below chart compares asylum approval rates at the various asylum offices for the months of December 2016 and December 2017 (the most recent month when data is available). Admittedly, this is a snapshot of events, and an imperfect snapshot at that. Nevertheless, I think it illustrates a larger trend.

The left number in each column represents the number of cases approved during the month. The number on the right is the number of cases completed. The percentage shows the percentage of cases approved in that office. So in December 2016, Arlington approved 89 cases out of 317 completed, meaning that 28% of completed cases were approved. Conversely, 72% of applicants were denied asylum or referred to court, but that includes people who failed to show up for their interview, so the denial rate for people who actually appear is not as bad as it seems from the chart (as they say, in life, eighty percent of success is showing up). With that out of the way, here are the stats:

Asylum Office December 2016 December 2017
Arlington 89/317 (28%) 80/276 (29%)
Boston 45/108 (42%) 27/168 (16%)
Chicago 75/186 (40%) 80/362 (22%)
Houston 28/119 (24%) 58/437 (13%)
Los Angeles 258/528 (49%) 389/1195 (33%)
Miami 73/243 (30%) 76/650 (12%)
Newark 118/358 (33%) 155/866 (18%)
New York 103/496 (21%) 87/858 (10%)
New Orleans 41/83 (49%) 83/188 (44%)
San Francisco 219/303 (72%) 196/429 (46%)
United States 1049/2741 (38.3%) 1231/5429 (22.7%)

 

So you can see that asylum grant rates are pretty dramatically down at most offices, and that for the entire country, they are down about 40% (from 38.3% to 22.7%) (you can see the source for these statistics here for 2016 and here for 2017). While the various grant rates could represent anomalies, they comport with larger trends, as shown in the next chart, which lists grant rates for the U.S. as a whole over the last few years:

Fiscal Year Asylum Grant Rate
FY 2015   45%
FY 2016   41%
FY 2017   34%
FY 2018   26%

 

You can see from this chart that asylum grant rates have been dropping since FY 2015 (which began on October 1, 2014), but the decrease is more pronounced in the two most recent fiscal years (and of course, we are only a few months into FY 2018). Further, if the December 2017 data is any indicator, the grant rate is continuing to drop.

My first question–and be forewarned, I don’t really intend to answer these questions–is, Why is this happening? The temptation is to attribute the drop to President Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda, but I don’t find that explanation very convincing. First, grant rates began to fall long before Mr. Trump took office. Second, even after he was sworn in–in the second quarter of FY 2017–it takes months to implement new policies. Most asylum officers were hired pre-Trump, and that was especially true in FY 2017, since it takes time to hire and train new people. In addition, I have not observed any real changes in the pool of asylum officers that I meet (then again, the grant rate at my local office–Arlington–seems to have held steady, at least as illustrated in the first chart).

So if it’s not President Trump, what’s going on? One possibility–and I suspect this is the explanation that the Asylum Division favors–is that a higher portion of cases interviewed in recent years are meritless. In other words, as the backlog grew and delays became longer, people with weak cases were incentivized to file for asylum in order to get their employment authorization document (“EAD”). These people knew that their cases would take years, and so they filed mostly to obtain some status here and work legally. But now, as more and more of these people are reaching the interview stage, their cases are being denied. There is some evidence for this theory–according to the Asylum Division, of the 314,000 backlogged asylum cases, 50,000+ applications were filed more than 10 years after the applicant entered the United States. For various reasons, such cases are more likely to be meritless, and–even if they are legitimate–they are more likely to be denied due to the one year asylum filing deadline.

If this second explanation is correct, then perhaps there will be a silver lining to the recent change in how asylum cases are interviewed. If people get faster interviews, maybe fewer meritless applicants will seek asylum.

Whether or not this will work, we shall see. But a test is soon coming (probably). The Trump Administration has ended TPS (Temporary Protected Status) for El Salvador and other countries. It has also terminated the DACA program. This means that in the absence of a legislative fix, hundreds of thousands of people will have no way to avoid deportation other than to go into hiding or to seek asylum. You can bet that many of them will seek asylum (and indeed, given the violent countries from whence they came, many have legitimate reasons to fear return).

We know from a recent meeting at the Arlington Asylum Office that the end of TPS and DACA were two reasons for changing to the FI-LO process. But whether this new procedure will stem the potential tidal wave of applications, I have my doubts.

All this brings us to the final question (for today)–What does this mean for asylum seekers? As usual, I don’t have a good answer. People filing now can probably expect an interview soon and should submit all evidence so they are ready for the interview. However, if volume is too high, not everyone will get an interview. My impression is that if the interview is not scheduled within 21 days of receiving the receipt, then the case will “disappear” and will only be interviewed once the Asylum Office starts working on backlogged cases. It’s likely that some cases will disappear, since the number of people seeking asylum is still out-pacing the government’s ability to interview applicants. Also, there are (once again) increasing numbers of asylum seekers arriving at the U.S./Mexico border, and the Asylum Offices must devote resources to those cases as well.

Local offices control the expedite process and the short list, and it seems that most offices will continue to offer those options. However, the Asylum Division is expecting fewer “no shows” with the new system, and so there may be less slots available for expedited or short-listed cases.

Finally, under the pre-December 2014 system, when an asylum case was sent to Immigration Court, the judge would schedule a quick hearing date for any applicant who had not yet received his EAD (in an effort to dissuade meritless applicants from seeking asylum merely to get an EAD). It looks like the Immigration Courts will again be doing this same thing, and so if you have a fast asylum interview and you are referred to court, you should be prepared for a fast hearing date in court.

For what it’s worth, my impression is that the Asylum Division is well aware of the pain it will inflict by re-ordering how asylum cases are interviewed. But they are looking at the “big picture” and they hope that changing to a FI-LO system will reduce meritless applications and ultimately benefit legitimate asylum seekers. I hope they are correct, but until then, I fear things will be worse before they get better.

{ 191 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike February 22, 2018 at 12:21 am

Hello Jason. In 2016 30 april i applied to assylum from Newyork. Now i have been living in Virginia cause i found a job here. I was planning to migrate to San francisco, but afer i saw the chart i totally disappointed. What is your recommendation?
Is it worthwhile to stay in Virginia? How is Arlington office?
Or do you recommend me to go to California Sf?
Thanks

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Jason Dzubow February 22, 2018 at 6:31 pm

I think you should live where ever is best for you, especially because you will probably be waiting a while for the interview. Also, I would not put a lot of stock in the numbers on the chart. I wrote something about this on February 25, 2016, and that post might help. Take care, Jason

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Amy February 20, 2018 at 6:52 pm

Hi Friends,

Does anyone know what is happening in Boston asylum office? Who are they interviewing right now? What is the rate of approved cases? I am still waiting for my first interview since feb 2015 🙁

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Jason Dzubow February 21, 2018 at 6:29 pm

No one knows the order of the interviews – we will have to see how the new system works, but if you filed in early 2015, I doubt you will get an interview any time soon. You can try to expedite – I wrote about that on March 30, 2017. As for the grant rate, I think the chart above gives some idea about that. Take care, Jason

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Sipi February 20, 2018 at 8:19 am

Dear Jason,

My case referred to an immigration judge and I have a master hearing in July 2018, I am not satisfied with my previous attorney so I want to change the attorney. Today I went to couple of attornies, one attorney just gave me 20 mins consultation and she assures me to proceed the case as asking for 8k. I found her through Avvo site and she has more than 250 five star reviews, also she said her winning number of court cases which is 99.99%. Another attorney I went with the reference of my friend he asks me case copy and will review it and ask me for 15k to proceed the case, he also claimed more than 95% success rate in court, I don’t who do I believe and hire for my case. Could you please guide me any website about attorney success percentage and reviews so I can make a better decision. Thanks

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Jamie February 20, 2018 at 10:25 am

Dear Sipi,

I am sorry to hear that you were referred to case. I genuinely wish you the best!

Now, you should be wary of these 5 star reviews. Speaking from experience, I would take these reviews with a grain of salt. Or better yet, read the reviews that are 3 or 4 stars- even the 2-stars. I find that reading the 3, 2 and 4-star review are usually more accurate (in my experience). What I have come to realize is that a lot of these 5-star reviews are what I call “bought reviews”: Business places are now recruiting and paying people to review their services. I have been a victim of this. On the other hand, I have read reviews that are horrible and turned out to be nothing less that 5 stars. Sometimes it just boils down to your gut feeling and your first couple of interactions with the lawyer.

I am not an expert on the cost for representation at the court stage, but I think 15k is exorbitant- bordering outrageous. I know people who pay 8-9K for everything, including court representation. I would want to imagine that, for the lawyer, how they arrive at their charges is dependent on a number factors such as location, overheads, staff complement, etc. So these factors may explain why the prices vary.

As I type this response to you, I am trying to digest the 99.99% win as claimed by the first lawyer. If this is true, then your best bet is the lawyer that charges less, has over 250 5-star reviews, and an impressive 99.99% win.

Finally, if you are not in a rush, you should research more to see if you can find great representation for less. Just go about it smartly.

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Sipi February 20, 2018 at 11:04 am

Thank you so much! I will do more research about an attorney and if you recommend anyone I’ll really appreciate, my case is in New York…

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Nauman February 20, 2018 at 3:48 pm

You have a legal right to find counsel. My experience is that in removal proceedings without Attorney the judge dare to listen you. He will give you further time to hire an Attorney.

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Jason Dzubow February 20, 2018 at 6:38 pm

My opinion is that sites like Avvo are basically useless. Attorneys game the system, and I often get requests to recommend my friends on Avvo (I forget my passport and I used an old email to create my account, so I can’t log in – which is fine with me). Also, a success rate of 99.99% or even 95% sounds fake to me (to have a 99.99% success rate, you would have to have done 10,000 cases in court and only lost one – that seems highly unlikely unless the lawyer is maybe 130 years old). In any case, these could be excellent lawyers; it is difficult to tell. The prices seem on the high side (we recently raised our prices from $4000 to $6000 because the lower price was untenable). In any case, I wrote an article on March 2, 2016 that might help. Maybe try talking to some local non-profits and see whether there is someone they recommend – usually the lawyer who volunteer with non-profits are pretty good. Take care, Jason

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Gabe February 19, 2018 at 9:19 pm

Hi Jason,

I had my affirmative asylum interview last month. It’s almost 5 weeks now and haven’t heard from USCIS yet. I read somewhere that favorable decisions may take longer to process. Is this true?

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Jason Dzubow February 20, 2018 at 7:34 am

Decisions can take a long time, and whether that means it is more likely to be an approval, I am not sure. I have seen at least one long-delayed case that was a denial, but most long-delayed cases I have seen have been approved (or are still pending). Take care, Jason

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Pending February 20, 2018 at 11:38 pm

I’ve been waiting for over 5 months since the interview…sigh.

Hopefully, it won’t be so long for you.

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Henry February 19, 2018 at 8:34 pm

Hi Jason I submitted my asylum file today but my mum filled the form because am currently 20.We are from Nigeria and we had to leave because am gay my father usually beat me up because of this which I have no prove of and a friend saw some text messages and other gay related things on my phone which he told every one we knew but since Nigeria has a gay ban I was always physically abused twice have been abused by the local police and my mum because she always supported me was also sometimes abused.My question is when I submitted my form I couldn’t explain a lot because it was my mom filing and in my personal statement I could not explain some of the abuse.Does this affect in any way and they were two evidence I couldn’t submit with the form text messages from my phone and some pictures of when I was beaten up by some thugs what do I do

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Jason Dzubow February 20, 2018 at 7:32 am

Please see my response to your other post, Jason

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Henry February 20, 2018 at 2:14 pm

I could not find any reply Jason

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Jason Dzubow February 20, 2018 at 6:44 pm

You would need to repost the question, sorry, Jason

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amy February 19, 2018 at 7:04 pm

Hi Jason,

If my company wants to sponsor me for green card and I have a pending asylum. How would that work? What should be done?
I also have a TPS and pending asylum. Should I just drop my asylum and go to the company sponsor route through TPS? Is this possible?

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Jason Dzubow February 20, 2018 at 7:26 am

It depends on the case – you may have to leave the US to get a GC through the company; and it may not even be possible to do it. You should talk to a lawyer about the specifics of the case to see what can be done. Make sure that if the lawyer agrees to file the I-140, that you are eligible to complete the whole process, as I have seen too many cases where the lawyer took a fee for the I-140, but there was no way for the person to ultimately get a GC. Take care, Jason

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AG February 19, 2018 at 5:54 pm

Hello Jason and blog’s readers friend I will have my asylum interview this Thursday at Houston Office. (I will post after the interview how was it).
I have a (kind of weird) question: I am a Firefighter in the USA do you recommend go to the interview in my Fire Department (professional) uniform? Or just use civilian clothes?

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wendy February 19, 2018 at 6:07 pm

Gook luck!
I don’t know if it is better to dress in suits. Please advise if anyone knows the rules.
Fire fighter uniform is cool and fire fighters are all heroes no matter where you were born.
God bless you!

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Nevadi February 19, 2018 at 7:07 pm

To be a fire fighter , dont you need GC or citizen ship?

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AG February 19, 2018 at 7:11 pm

That will depend of the Fire Department and the state. Some you need GC or Citizenship others just your employment authorization. Texas is a friendly state for no citizens Firefighters.

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Jason Dzubow February 20, 2018 at 7:28 am

It probably depends on the local policy of that fire department. Take care, Jason

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Nevadi February 20, 2018 at 11:25 pm

Thanks Jason and Good luck AG on your interview…

Jason Dzubow February 20, 2018 at 7:20 am

It is just my personal preference, but I would probably wear civilian clothes. Certainly, though, you should give them evidence that you are a firefighter – that is evidence of good moral character and it could help your case. Take care, Jason

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Asylum seeker February 22, 2018 at 2:44 am

When did you filed?

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k. walker February 19, 2018 at 12:55 pm

Hi, As it relate to the new rules for asylum interview, will my case interview come any time this year by assumption because i file my case in December 2017 and got a reciept in December, Did my biometric before the new set interview dates and waiting for interview? Secondly, Do you think they are going to Start interviewing only people who file After the jan. 29 date, complete them before going backward? or completely processing of all application and interviews of from the 29 Jan date to precent, they are going to Start from the older once to get to the December applicants, or continue from most recent to the Oldest application filed and waiting interview?

thanks.

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Jason Dzubow February 20, 2018 at 7:05 am

The short answer is that we do not know. The new policy just began, and so whether they will start working on cases filed in December 2017, we will have to see. It depend on the volume of cases coming in. If it is too many, then they cannot work on the backlog. However, if they do get to the backlog, your case might be one of the first, so make sure you are ready to go, if you are called. Take care, Jason

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Ahmed February 19, 2018 at 3:26 am

Dear Mr. Jason,

What is the possibilities to grant asylum for Palestinian who is considered stateless, Im Palestinian holding temporary Jordanian passport and living in Kuwait since 5 years. I have B1/B2 visa. Do you advise to apply for asylum if I go there ?

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Jason Dzubow February 19, 2018 at 7:28 am

It depends on the case. We have won asylum for Palestinians, but there has to be a threat. One was from Gaza and he feared Hamas; others were stateless, but with a Syrian travel document and fear of harm from extremists in Syria. If you have some type of permanent status in Jordan, you will have to show a fear of persecution in that country. Take care, Jason

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Marcia Alberts February 18, 2018 at 11:09 am

Hi Jason,
I am running an immigration clinic here in Florida. We deal with detention cases, a part of it is of corse asylum. My question is I had a very strong claim from Pakistani client. The lady is Christian convert here in USA. Her church attending and every thing was verified. One of her Baptism certificate was not verified, the referral letter from asylum office said ” You are not credible because there is inconsistency in supporting documents, it material to your application that whether or not certain event events happened in account to you religion”. Jason, can this inconsistency be overcome by verifying that document? How do they see such situation in court?
Stay Blessed.

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Jason Dzubow February 18, 2018 at 8:59 pm

If that is truly the reason, it seems a very weak basis to refer the case. In court, you can bring people from the church (maybe lots of people) to help verify the claim (again, assuming that was the problem). Of course, they would also need to submit witnesses letters. Maybe she can submit other evidence of her conversion as well – photos attending church events, evidence of evangelism, etc. The other side of the case is evidence of a threat in Pakistan, evidence that she cannot relocate, and evidence that the government cannot protect her. Take care, Jason

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Peter February 21, 2018 at 2:52 am

Sorry to reply here
But I have a similar case
I will have my interview soon before easter
And I’m supposed to be baptized on easter
Which is after the interview
I had other documents from witnesses
Do you recommend me to reschedule the interview until I get my baptism certificate?
Or legally it wouldn’t matter since I’m a true believer and I have many witnesses and other documents?
Please advice
God blesses,

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Jason Dzubow February 21, 2018 at 6:40 pm

If you have evidence of your religion and also about the upcoming Baptism, maybe that is enough. But I do not know your case, so I cannot really advise you about the evidence. You can try to postpone an interview, but usually the postponement is only for a few weeks. Contact the local asylum office if you want to do that. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. Take care, Jason

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Peto February 21, 2018 at 11:02 pm

I have letter from my pastor and Witnesses
Do you think it is enough evidences?

Thanks,

wendy February 22, 2018 at 12:05 pm

May I ask when did you file your case?

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sami February 16, 2018 at 4:20 am

Dear respectful lawyers
my mother is christian from Syria she left Syria on march 2017 to Switzerland as she had temporary residency card for year over there arrived to us last July and she is going to apply for asylum in the next two weeks
the USCIS office is San Francisco as we are in Washington
her case is based in religious persecution she suffers some real life threats over there in Syria i need your advice as my father still in Syria and she is thinking about the bast way to help him out what do you think about her case and her possible timeline and being coming from Switzerland is that going to affect her case badly she have me and my sister in united states both asylum seekers my sister filed at the beginning of 2014 without interview yet 🙁 Florida office
me filed at Sep 2016 did interview in Feb 2017 waiting for decision since in wa San Francisco office
she should apply or to go Canada
warm wishes

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Danny February 16, 2018 at 10:10 pm

Hey there,
May I ask how was your mom’s interview at the US Embassy
And how long did it take till her visa been issued.
My mom and dad both applied for B1/B2 Visas back in Amman on 2017, but their applications got denied, cos of fear of duel intent since I already applied for asylum here.

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Deedee February 15, 2018 at 2:06 pm

Any advice from people who have done religious persecution based interviews? Thank you!

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Peter February 16, 2018 at 2:20 am

When did you file? And when is your interview?
I notice that many religious asylum cases are being first interviewed recently!
Especially after the new interview system

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Deedee February 16, 2018 at 1:48 pm

I filed January

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Jason Dzubow February 16, 2018 at 7:13 am

This is often a strong basis for a claim, depending on the case and country conditions, but you would need to give more specifics about what you want to know in order for people to really assist you. Take care, Jason

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Deedee February 16, 2018 at 1:47 pm

Okay so I’m applying on the basis of religious persecution. I was a muslim who converted to christianity From Nigeria . Came in on an f1 visa(2011) but fell out of status in 2015. Got reinstated(I wrote on my persecution in application that got approved). But fell out of status again(My father threatened my sponsor so he didn’t pay my tuition). Last year we had three deaths of people who’ve helped I and my family(My mother and brother back in Nigeria ) we suspect my dad due to calls etc. My Eldest brother a pastor got persecuted and arrested and had to be sent to Ethiopia by his church as a temporary pastor. My father is the one persecuting us(the head) helped by his muslim family and community. He believes in Ayatollah Khomeini teachings and He has ties with the group boko haram. That’s the sparksnotes version. I was wounded(Have a visible crack in teeth), faced physical violence and verbal threats to my life etc. At my visa interview to get into the USA I did also mention my persecution. Note I am applying after one year bar(I had no idea what it was, when I found out first lawyer said I won’t qualify due to bar, got reinstated but couldn’t pay tuition, contacted another lawyer who said I qualify then I applied) and have my interview next month. Any help with interview experiences and possible questions will be appreciated! Especially in regards to one year bar and then any general question or even from reading my story if you have questions for me I’d appreciate it. I keep to myself due to my past persecution so I don’t have friends here to tell my story and help ask questions. I can add more details if you’d like.

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Tina February 17, 2018 at 1:01 am

Too much details already except that you did not include your first and last name.Just being goofy.Do not take me seriously please☺

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Asylum February 17, 2018 at 3:47 pm

Which office and what is the timeline of your application

Jason Dzubow February 18, 2018 at 6:36 am

I wrote about the one-year bar on January 8, 2018 – maybe that would help. There are exceptions to the rule and you need to try to show that you meet one. For Nigerian cases, you also need to show that the government cannot or will not protect you and that you cannot safely relocate within your country. Book Haram is not everywhere in the country, so you need to explain why you face danger everywhere. This case is a bit tricky and there are probably other issues as well, and so I think you would benefit from a lawyer. You might try to find a free one if you cannot afford a lawyer. I wrote about that on September 22, 2016. Take care, Jason

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Peto February 21, 2018 at 3:01 am

to Peter

I agree with you

Most of the cases being interviewed after the new system are religion based !

Good notice

But does Jason have an idea about the reason?

Julia February 15, 2018 at 3:02 am

Hi Mr Jason,
Me and my husband came to USA and already applied for asylum last year in November. Now we got work permit. Here in the USA I delivered a baby in December 2017. This is our situation here. We have another two children in my country. One is ten years old and the other is seven years old now. They are girls. What I want to know is can we apply for urgent interview for asylum? Because we want to call and see our two children as soon as possible. Please let me know if you have any advice for my daughters. How can I try for my children? Could you give me faster way for the interview.

Thanks
Julia

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Jason Dzubow February 15, 2018 at 7:31 am

This sounds like a good reason to expedite – I wrote about expediting a case on March 30, 2017. You might also get Advance Parole to try to visit them in a third country (I wrote about that on September 11, 2017). Take care, Jason

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Mostafa February 14, 2018 at 11:40 pm

Dear Jason,

I have arrived to the US in January under a F-1 Visa last December to study here. I am planning to apply for asylum in the next couple of weeks on basis of my sexual orientation because I’m from a Muslim country where homosexuality is a crime punishable by prison.
With this change in the asylum procedure 1) how long am I expected to wait before getting an interview ? 2) Also, does the fact that I come from a Muslim country will delay my interview/final decision ?

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Jason Dzubow February 15, 2018 at 7:29 am

1 – Maybe a month or two, but if you are not interviewed quickly, your case will go into the backlog, and you may wait for a long time (or a short time – no one knows at this point). 2 – It has no effect on the interview date, but people, especially men, from Muslim countries sometimes have long waits than other people. We have a few clients waiting for several years (so far) since the interview. Most Muslim people do not wait this long, but it is not predictable who be delayed or for how long. Take care, Jason

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Mostafa February 15, 2018 at 11:12 am

Thank you Jason for your answer. If I may ask another question. You said “if my case will go into the backlog”, what are the facts that determines that one’s case goes into the backlog ? Is it completely random ?

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Allen February 15, 2018 at 11:51 am

I believe no one has an answer for that. it is purely associated with number of new filings for that month + bad luck. I think it is safer if you apply now. Because of the scheduling rule change, many expected new applicants postponed their applications do complete their cases. in a few months, many prepared cases are expected to flow into asylum office.

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Mostafa February 15, 2018 at 12:21 pm

Thank you Allen for your feedback 🙂

Jason Dzubow February 16, 2018 at 7:07 am

As far as I know, it is random. But if the volume of new cases is high, a larger percentage will go to the backlog. If fewer new cases come in, more (or all) of them will be interviewed and then the asylum office can start working on backlogged cases. Take care, Jason

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E February 14, 2018 at 10:51 pm

Hi Jason, hopefully you had a great Valentine’s Day.
I read somewhere in the comments that people could check their case status with some tools!! And they use the Z number!!?? My question is what is the Z number and how we can have it and also where exactly we can check our status, after having the interview for sure. ???
It’s been a month since I had my interview with expedited file!! Need an answer sooner due to a surgery for my kid. It’s hard to put a child in a risky situation while the other parent is not here. All separation and long waiting time and health conditions are suffocating me and my kid. Do you have any suggestions??!!

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Jason Dzubow February 15, 2018 at 7:27 am

The Z number is on your receipt, but you cannot check that on-line for purposes of knowing your interview date. You have to contact the asylum office directly. You can find their contact info if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. It sounds like you have a good reason to expedite, but even if they do expedite, the process is not so fast, especially if it involves filing an I-730 to bring a spouse here. The fastest we ever brought a spouse to the US was about 4 months after the asylum was granted, and that was before the Trump Administration and the more difficult environment, so I think you need to plan accordingly. Good luck, Jason

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Yazeed February 15, 2018 at 9:48 am

So if you contact them directly, you can find out your interview date?

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Jason Dzubow February 16, 2018 at 7:05 am

The asylum office does not know your interview date either (until it gets scheduled). Take care, Jason

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E February 15, 2018 at 2:14 pm

Thank you so much Jason.

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Malick February 14, 2018 at 10:38 pm

Hi Jason,

Thank you for your blog that got me thru the past three years of waiting for my interview.
I applied in August 2015 (New York Office).
According to the latest schedule bulletin, I was supposed to be interviewed since beginning in October 17 they were interviewing cases from April 15 to September 15.
Although I requested that my lawyer write to the asylum office in September to get an update, they only did so recently with the changes. I myself wrote to the asylum office in October with no success.
Do you think I have a chance to get an interview in the coming weeks, if I make a special request to the asylum office director? I have heard people who applied in September/October 15 getting interviewed in January.

Thank you

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Jason Dzubow February 15, 2018 at 7:24 am

I have not heard about such special requests, so I don’t know. You can always request to expedite – I wrote about that on March 30, 2017. Good luck, Jason

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wendy February 15, 2018 at 2:25 pm

Hi Malick,

Just for your information.
I went to the asylum office yesterday. According to the lady at the inquiry desk, the order of cases for interview was chosen by their system not by people’s hand.
For last in first out, I guess they just changed the parameters in their system.

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Malick February 15, 2018 at 6:32 pm

Thank you Jason,
I will instruct my lawyers to request an expedited interview.
@Wendy, It’s very interesting to learn that the selection is actually random. Not reassuring…

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John February 14, 2018 at 6:58 pm

Dear Jason,
Im confused how to apply for Social security number. In the website (https://www.ssa.gov/ssnvisa/ebe.html) states :

“To save you a trip to the Social Security Office you can now apply for your SSN and card (SSN card) on the same application form you will use to apply for permission to work legally in the United States (U.S.). That application is the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. If USCIS approves your application to work in the U.S. and you completed the section on the application to request an SSN card, then USCIS will send SSA the data we need to issue your SSN card. If you already have an SSN and you requested an SSN card on the I-765 application, we will issue you a replacement SSN card.”

Does it mean I dont need to go to the Social Security Office to apply for SSN?

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Jason Dzubow February 15, 2018 at 7:18 am

In the past, people went to the office with their EADs and other IDs to get a the SSN card. But now, on the I-765 (the EAD application), you can request an SSN card and get it by mail. So if you are applying for an EAD now, you can request the SSN in the same form. Take care, Jason

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John February 15, 2018 at 5:12 pm

Thank you !
I have requested for the SSN on the I-765 form. So I will wait by mail with out going to the SS office.

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Jason Dzubow February 16, 2018 at 7:27 am

The SSN card should come by mail. Take care, Jason

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Filex February 14, 2018 at 5:57 pm

I applied for my assylum in Feb, 2015, Arlington center. I assume i was close to be called for interview through the FIFO ( first in first out). Now I heard that they changed it to LIFO (last in first out) and if they are not able to comlet appliactions that are made very recently and are still creating backlogs when am i going to be called for the inteview? I am deeply worried. Can you give me some answer please Jason? Is it possible to reach your office online to finalize my assylum case. Since I live in a different state from where i applied.

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Jason Dzubow February 14, 2018 at 6:43 pm

It is likely that you will wait for some time before the interview, but no one knows how long. People who filed around your time are the ones most hurt by the policy change. You can try to expedite – I wrote about that on March 30, 2017. As for me, we have now stopped taking new cases, at least for a bit. You can try to contact me in March if you want, maybe we will be able to start taking new cases by then. Take care, Jason

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Alfonso February 14, 2018 at 4:53 pm

Hello Jason,
I have a question. My uncle came to USA in March, 2016 and filed his asylum in May, 2016. He applied asylum without giving I94 number because his I 94 was not found online. He got EAD, SSN. Now after two years it’s still not found online. What he should do now because he supposed to be interviewed soon. Should he visit the relevant office and if he got his number should he sent to asylum office or bring with when interviewed? Your advice will be greatly helpful.
Alfonso

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Jason Dzubow February 14, 2018 at 6:38 pm

If he has his US visa and passport entry stamp, that proves his lawful entry. Sometimes we cannot find the I-94 online and this has not been a problem for the asylum case. Take care, Jason

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Roshana Begom February 14, 2018 at 3:07 pm

Hi Jason. I saw the update on the asylum scheduling bulletin. So the cases which are recent will be heard first. I applied for asylum back in 2016 October. So that is mean I have to wait 3 more years instead 1 year from now ? And what if I re do all the process . Apply for asylum again so that my case is heard sooner ? This is confusing

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Jason Dzubow February 14, 2018 at 6:33 pm

You will probably wait longer under the new system, but we don’t yet know how this will play out. I do not think you can get a faster interview by re-filing. One open question is whether, if you have a spouse who is a dependent on your case, the spouse can file a new application and get a fast interview. I do not know, but if I hear of people trying it, I will report that here. Take care, Jason

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Hareem fatima February 14, 2018 at 3:00 pm

Hi Jason, after reading this post, I’m feeling kind of scared. It seems like we are waiting this long just for our cases to be denied ? I applied from Houston office and the stats is very low for Houston , this is disturbing

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Jason Dzubow February 14, 2018 at 6:32 pm

I think a big reason for the low number relates to the types of cases in that office. Houston probably has a lot of Mexican and Central American cases. These cases are often very weak, and so it may help account for the low numbers. Also, remember that these numbers include denied cases for people who did not show up at the interview. If you account for that, the grant rate is higher (maybe 5 or more points hire, but I did not calculate the numbers). Take care, Jason

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PATRICE PATRICE February 14, 2018 at 12:38 pm

Hi Jason,
i want to expedite my asylum case, can these be concrete reasons to expedite:-
1.high expenses in raising my (US Citizen child), daycare, proper housing and stress that i am all by myself?

i was also wondering if by any means you have any idea how i can get a Lawyer, free lawyer. my case is under NJ and i am in Buffalo NY.
Thank you.

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Jason Dzubow February 14, 2018 at 6:27 pm

1 – Maybe, but these are the same issues faced by many people. I wrote about expediting on Mache 30, 2017. 2 – I wrote about finding a free lawyer on September 22, 2016. Maybe that would help you get started finding someone. Take care, Jason

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Nauman February 14, 2018 at 7:10 pm

I believe USCIS wants another backlog in Federal courts or the pending asylum seekers have to come out in the streets same as DACA.

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Jason Dzubow February 15, 2018 at 7:19 am

I think the Trump Administration wants to deter as many non-citizens as possible from coming here, especially if they are non-Christian or not white. Most people at USCIS, by contrast, just want to do their jobs and follow the law. Take care, Jason

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Sim February 13, 2018 at 11:08 pm

Hi Jason,

I filed asylum and from Miami and send my first ead papers in Dallas tx. Just wanted to know what happen next and how long it take to get ead from taxes office .

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Jason Dzubow February 14, 2018 at 7:19 am

You should get a receipt. Most people do not need to do fingerprints, but some may. A first time EAD can take a month or more, a renewal can take 6+ months. Take care, Jason

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Sim February 14, 2018 at 12:15 pm

Thanks Jason

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Tina February 14, 2018 at 3:11 pm

You know what I think about this scheduling, Jason. When you apply to renew your EAD, you will most likely be called for interview. Rushing the new cases creates room for EADs to expire. My thoughts though.

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Jason Dzubow February 14, 2018 at 6:34 pm

I do not think there is a relationship between the EAD and the interview. We will have to see what happens. Take care, Jason

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Jemey February 18, 2018 at 4:07 pm

Hi
When you say a first time EAD, do you mean the first time EAD for an asylum applicant? Or the first time EAD in the US?
I have an EAD card (F1 Visa) and I’ll apply for an initial EAD as an asylum applicant. In this case should I expect to wait 6+ months?

Thank you (:

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Jason Dzubow February 18, 2018 at 9:07 pm

First time EAD as an asylum applicant. Take care, Jason

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Arifin February 13, 2018 at 2:16 pm

Hello Jason,
I applied for Asylum on November 2016, NY Office . I’m very much worried to know when I can expect my interview as I’m not ready yet with all of my supporting evidence.
We greatly appreciate your continued support. Thanks again.

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Jason Dzubow February 13, 2018 at 6:49 pm

Given the policy change (discussed above), it will probably be a while before you have an interview. Nevertheless, it does not hurt to get the evidence as soon as you can, so you are ready when the time comes. Take care, Jason

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Ali February 13, 2018 at 11:41 am

Hello jason
I understand when you receive RA that’s mean your case was approved and you just waiting for the background check to be completed, my question is.. if you don’t received RA is that mean your case was denied ?

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Jason Dzubow February 13, 2018 at 6:44 pm

No – it just means the case is pending and there is no decision yet. Take care, Jason

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James February 13, 2018 at 10:46 am

Hi Jason

I come in the US on July 2017 but i mange to apply for asylum before my i-94 (6 months) get expired.

1- i would like to know if since it’s finish and I’m on pending, I’m an overstayed?
2- when do you become overstayed?
3- can you become overstayed even if you apply for asylum within the 1 year?

Thanks

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Jason Dzubow February 13, 2018 at 6:44 pm

1 – It sounds like your asylum case is pending. 2 – You overstay when your I-94 expires – in your case, 6 months after arrival. But because you filed for asylum, there is no “unlawful presence,” and so there are no penalties if you leave the US. 3 – Yes, but there are usually no penalties. Take care, Jason

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Vicky February 13, 2018 at 11:27 pm

Dear Jason,

When you say there are no penalties if someone applies for asylum before the expiry of I-94 and waits for 2-3 years and then leaves US, he will have no “unlawful presence” If such a person has a valid B1/B2 visa, can he enter US again after a few years? Will he encounter any problems at port of entry ?

Thanks,
Vicky.

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Jason Dzubow February 14, 2018 at 7:20 am

When I say “no penalties,” I mean no bar to return. You could always be denied entry as a matter of discretion, so there is some risk that you could be denied entry, or that you would have a harder time getting a new visa once the current one expires. Take care, Jason

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Same way February 13, 2018 at 4:19 am

Hi Jason,
I have a preoccupation when I was in my country before they made my passport in my identity card its was error was made on my date of birth, the same error was also made in my passport and when I asked for asylum I did not signal that, my question is I have my Highschool diploma with my real date of birth , can I show them, the day of my interview for to fix it out or what can I do?

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Jason Dzubow February 13, 2018 at 6:36 pm

We see this a lot. You can explain to them that most of your official documents have the wrong birth date, and so you have been using that as your birth date. However, you can tell them the real birth date and show them the school document as evidence of that. This should not be a problem, as we have done it with a number of clients. Take care, Jason

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Zakir Alam February 12, 2018 at 11:48 pm

Hi Jason,

My asylum case was submitted on March 2017 with 4 family member to USCIS office through Lawyer and later on we discovered he doesn’t have licenses and fake Lawyer in New York. After-all, we got our EAD and SSN. Is there any way to get our entire submitted xerox documents which he sent behalf of our-self to USCIS office? It will be highly appreciated if you drop a few lines from busy schedule.

Thank you.

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Scopa February 13, 2018 at 6:26 pm

I am in the situations as you! My lawyer office told me that they didnt kept a copy of my application and further more the lawyer assigned with my case has left the company and I cannot talk to anyway with regard to my case. I am just confused as you!

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Jason Dzubow February 13, 2018 at 6:31 pm

You can file a Freedom of Information Act request to get your file – form G-639, available at http://www.uscis.gov. It should be free, but it will probably take 6 months. Take care, Jason

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Ralf February 12, 2018 at 10:30 pm

Hi Jason,
I have just found out on the internet that an asylum could :

1) After a Denial by the Asylum Office, Referral to Immigration Court
2) After a Denial by the Immigration Judge, Appeal to the BIA
3) After a Denial by the BIA, Appeal to U.S. Court of Appeals
4) After a Denial by the U.S. Court of Appeals, Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court

please correct me if these information are wrong.
my question is how the uscis could prevent people from getting a work permit if the only thing that is affected by the new order is the interview with an asylum officer?

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Clark February 13, 2018 at 4:29 am

Thank you Ralf for this information.
Jason, I came to the USA using my b1 visa and now my asylum application is pending. I’m married to a US citizen my question is until what step is it possible for me to apply for green card through marriage?

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Jason Dzubow February 13, 2018 at 6:38 pm

You can apply for a GC based on marriage while your asylum case is pending, after it is granted, or while your case is pending with the Immigration Judge (if the asylum office denies the case and send it to a judge). It is probably easier to do that before you are with the judge, but it is up to you. Talk to a lawyer about the specifics of the case to be sure you are eligible for a GC through marriage. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow February 13, 2018 at 7:30 am

Technically, you are correct, but if you are at stage 3 and 4, you cannot get a work permit. Also, the courts will supposedly process cases faster if the person does not yet have an EAD. I expect some people will move much more quickly through the system. The idea (I guess) is that this will cause other people to not seek asylum because they will see it is harder to get an EAD. I have my doubts that this will work, but we’ll see. Take care, Jason

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Clark February 13, 2018 at 2:53 pm

I came to the USA using my b1 visa and now my asylum application is pending. I’m married to a US citizen my question is can I get GC through marriage if I’m at stage 3 or 4? the same question for stage 1 and 2.
thank you Jason.

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Jason Dzubow February 13, 2018 at 6:50 pm

It really depends on the case, and you should talk to a lawyer to advise you about the specifics. In general, once someone has lost at the BIA, or if the case is otherwise denied, it is much harder to get status based on marriage. Take care, Jason

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Ray February 12, 2018 at 9:38 pm
Zakir Alam February 12, 2018 at 10:54 pm

this is not heart breaking news, he had cases from UAE so due to this reason this gentleman got arrested…..

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Sara February 12, 2018 at 11:15 pm

I hope his crime is not that he was caught eating in public during Ramadan. You never know with the UAE.

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Rsv February 12, 2018 at 11:39 pm

Sara even if it is the case as you assumed, one should abide by the law of the land. I suggest you wait for others respnose to give you some insight.

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Sara February 12, 2018 at 11:47 pm

I think you missed my point, Rsv.
My point is that we don’t know anything about the nature of the crime(s) that he had committed. Also, that many of us come from countries where there are plenty of backwards laws hence us seeking asylum here, and I don’t exclude the UAE from that list.

Jamie February 13, 2018 at 12:08 pm

Rsv, please stop! Unless the asylum office/DHS did a background check and found that the crime that the asylum applicant committed in the UAE arise to a serious crime that can bar him from getting asylum, then there is no need for the arrest. There are many ridiculous things that you can get arrested for in UAE, including being LGBT which is one eligible category for asylum.

If it is true that he was arrested in UAE, then the asylum applicant has a duty to inform the asylum office of the arrest and the reason for the arrest. The applicant must be given a chance to explain why he was arrested, which is why there is a reason for the interview in the first place. If USCIS has reason to believe- after doing a background check- that the applicant is a threat to the public for security reasons, or the applicant committed a crime in another country so gross so as to bar him from getting asylum, then the arrest was warranted. If he is wanted for jaywalking, for example, then I believe ICE has caused psychological harm and inconvenience to the applicant.

I believe this is what Sara was saying. We need to stop acting like we can’t fall prey to these occurrences. I need to know what he is wanted for in UAE.

Jason Dzubow February 13, 2018 at 7:35 am

Or being gay. But even so, he has a criminal issue in UAE, and that distinguishes his case from most others. In other words, I do not think this case alone is a reason to be worried about attending an asylum interview. Take care, Jason

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Jamie February 13, 2018 at 11:48 am

Jason,

I feel like the arrest was because he overstayed the visa and because he is from the country banned. I feel like they now want to go after people who applied for asylum out of status as the law gives them the right to do so.

Though most asylum applicants are not usually bothered when they file out of status because of extenuating circumstances, ICE, I believe, is using those same extenuating circumstances and law, as leverage, to arrest asylum applicants unnecessarily. I suppose we are basically the low-hanging fruits that can be used to help make up the statistics/numbers of arrests and deportations, which can be fed to their base to make it seems like they are fulfilling their promise. The ugly part of it is that some of us are just there to be used as political pawns, and worse, an easy target for mistreatment.

If one of their reasons for arresting the asylum applicant at the asylum office is because he violated the visa (and I guarantee you that the violation is filing when he was out of status), then it’s logical to conclude that all of us who applied when we were out of status are risk of being arrested by ICE. I have always been saying this from day one. It was just a matter of time.

I planned to travel domestically and now I think I am going to have to cancel my trip for fear of being arrested.

What is frustrating- and I suspect that this was their objective to deter legal immigration to the US- is that it is quite depressing and traumatizing to live your life in constant fear and limbo.

Jason Dzubow February 12, 2018 at 10:59 pm

We heard about this case last week and it caused a bit of a stir. First, it is a disgrace that ICE would detain a person at the asylum office – that is supposed to be a safe space, and many asylum seekers have already suffered trauma, so the fact that ICE would violate that space, with no concern for how it affects people, is disgusting. That said, this case is not a “normal” asylum case. He has a pending criminal charge against him in the UAE. This may or may not be a legitimate charge, but it distinguishes his case from the vast majority of asylum seekers who do not have pending charges against them. Of course, we will have to see whether this represents a new pattern, but according to the Director of the Asylum Division, there has been no change in policy, and since the Trump Administration came in, I know of only two arrests of asylum seekers at the asylum office – this case and one other. Both had criminal charges against them. So for now, I do not think it is a cause for concern, though certainly we will need to continue paying attention in case this becomes more of a pattern. Take care, Jason

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Rsv February 12, 2018 at 11:41 pm

Agree with you Sir 100%. Thanks for your wisdome.

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Rsv February 12, 2018 at 11:43 pm

I mean wisdom.

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G February 12, 2018 at 11:44 pm

This is really disturbing. You would assume that many legitimate asylum seekers could have criminal charges in their COP that are often meritless and/or inhumane. (You could be criminally charged with contempt of religion in many muslim countries for example). ICE might as well fill their gestapo-arrest quotas for the year and put all 300k of us in jail for being out of status.

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Jason Dzubow February 13, 2018 at 7:41 am

Don’t give ICE any ideas! This man is from Sudan, not UAE, and so an arrest warrant from UAE is probably not part of his case. I had a case where the person was Sudanese and had lived in Qatar. He was arrested in Qatar because he was gay (this was pre-Trump). We explained about the problem in Qatar (and the bigger problem in Sudan) and we had no issue. However, here, even assuming the criminal charge in UAE was not legitimate, it is apparent from the news articles and from my list serve that his lawyer did not know about the charges, and so could not have mitigated them by providing evidence in the asylum case. My point is that, while I think arresting anyone at the asylum office is disgraceful, I do not think there is cause for other asylum seekers to worry. That may change, if ICE arrests more people at asylum offices, but I think there is no evidence of that happening in non-criminal cases, and so there is no reason to be worried at this time. Of course, we need to pay attention to what is happening, but for now, I do not think asylum seekers need to be concerned when attending their interviews. Take care, Jason

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Nauman February 13, 2018 at 6:02 pm

Dear Jason,

Do you think ICE or other give you time to explain. I have not seen such a chaos and confusing situation in years.

Rsv February 12, 2018 at 11:50 pm

Dear Mr. Jason i have one more question. I wonder if he has pending criminal charge against him in uae i wonder how he get approved for any kind of visa to come here.

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Sara February 13, 2018 at 12:12 am

Maybe he had his visa before committing said crime.
One would have to wonder, though, how his wife and child are able to continue living there with (what would seem like) no issues when they’re related to a “fugitive”. 😒

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Ray February 13, 2018 at 12:52 am

Exactly, Collective punishment isn’t rare in the ME after all. Still i’m not sure how serious his crime overseas is, is ICE the department to deal with it?

Rsv February 13, 2018 at 2:40 am

@ray @sara
Thank you guys for your response giving myself more insight. Indeed an unfortunate situation.

Jason Dzubow February 13, 2018 at 6:32 pm

Who knows? Maybe he had a visa from long ago, maybe the criminal charge was only reported to Interpol recently? Or maybe the criminal charge is a red herring and not related to the arrest? I imagine we will learn more about the case in the near future. Take care, Jason

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Elias Zakarias February 16, 2018 at 12:24 pm

do we know his name ?

We can check the red notice list here:

https://www.interpol.int/notice/search/wanted

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Henry February 19, 2018 at 7:46 pm

Hi Jason I submitted my asylum file today but my mum filled the form because am currently 20.We are from Nigeria and we had to leave because am gay my father usually beat me up because of this which I have no prove of and a friend saw some text messages and other gay related things on my phone which he told every one we knew but since Nigeria has a gay ban I was always physically abused twice have been abused by the local police and my mum because she always supported me was also sometimes abused.My question is when I submitted my form I couldn’t explain a lot because it was my mom filing and in my personal statement I could not explain some of the abuse.Does this affect in any way and they were two evidence I couldn’t submit with the form text messages from my phone and some pictures of when I was beaten up by some thugs what do I do

steve February 12, 2018 at 4:32 pm

Hi Jason,
I granted asylum on April of 2017 and planning to apply for the GC by April 2018, could you please give us an estimate of the waiting time frame for this case and have there been any major changes for this particular process that we have to be aware of?
lastly, if I want to leave the country after applying for the GC and during the waiting time, can I still do it with my refugee travel document or should I apply for the re-entry permit?

Thank you,
Steve

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Jason Dzubow February 13, 2018 at 7:22 am

Waiting time for GCs is slower, but it is difficult to predict. I would expect to wait at least 10 or 12 months. Also, they are getting more strict in how they look at applications – I wrote about that on November 13, 2017. As long as your RTD is valid, you can travel on that, and even if have a GC, you can still use the RTD. And by the way, when you pay the fee for a green card (form I-485), that includes an RTD or a Re-entry Permit (form I-131), so you might as well get a new RTD or Re-entry permit, since there is no extra cost. It also includes a free EAD, if you want one. Take care, Jason

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Steve February 13, 2018 at 10:33 am

Thank you for the follow up.
One more question, which one is better and safer to travel with and re-enter the country with no problem? RTD or Re-entry permit? and can I receive any of them before even receiving the actual GC if i applied at the same time?

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Jason Dzubow February 13, 2018 at 6:42 pm

RTD is probably better, since you will not need to travel using your passport (hopefully), which is a no-no for asylees. If you do not yet have the GC, you can only get the RTD. Take care, Jason

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Nyc February 12, 2018 at 3:30 pm

Hey guys
I just received Approval asylum and I-94

Apply Sep 2015
Interview January 2018
Pick up decision 02/02/2018
Got phone call before go to pick up decision
he said he will be mail the decision
After a week got a phone call agian to confirm
Address. A day later check Z number “waved the filing fee”

Got a mail today approval Asylum.

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Sara February 12, 2018 at 3:38 pm

Whoop! Whoop!
Congrats, Nyc!!!

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Jamie February 12, 2018 at 3:46 pm

Congrats, Nyc!!! Happy for you

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Asylum seeker February 12, 2018 at 3:46 pm

Congratulations!!!

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Tina February 12, 2018 at 3:49 pm

Congrats!

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Sarah February 12, 2018 at 5:12 pm

Congrats

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Hanif February 12, 2018 at 5:33 pm

Congratulation…….😁😁

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JN February 12, 2018 at 6:11 pm

Congrats NYC

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zim February 12, 2018 at 6:18 pm

heartiest congratulations !!!
that means system is still working !!!!

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Liz February 12, 2018 at 8:47 pm

Congratulations, Nyc!

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Nema February 12, 2018 at 11:15 pm

Congrats

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Anonymous February 14, 2018 at 8:55 pm

Congratulations oooo

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E February 13, 2018 at 12:39 am

Congratulations 🎉🎊🎊🎉

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E February 13, 2018 at 12:56 am

Could you please share the office, and the day of your interview?you just mentioned January!! Of course if you don’t mind!!??

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Jason Dzubow February 13, 2018 at 7:15 am

Congratulation! It is always nice to hear good news. Good luck in the USA, Jason

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Ali February 13, 2018 at 11:11 am

Congratulations NYC

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Malick February 14, 2018 at 10:23 pm

Congrats NYC.
Did you do your interview in NY office or NJ?
I applied in August 15 and still did not get an interview.
I am very worried, especially with this change.
Thanks

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EB3 February 12, 2018 at 3:18 pm

I guess majority of fraud cases are fake. I know of many young Chinese people who come here and apply for asylum. They are economic migrants, not political refugees. but since it is very hard to verify their claims, many get their cases approved.

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Sara February 12, 2018 at 3:37 pm

And I’m sure many Chinese people have legitimate cases. There’s fraud, that’s for sure based on the information Jason presented in this post and on well, human nature.
I think we’re better off not wasting our energy pointing fingers, and focusing on our own cases instead.
I don’t mean this in a spiteful way, but I believe that no one person on here can claim to know how widespread the fraud is based on their single experience. If 90 percent of the asylum cases someone know of are fraudulent, then it’s just that: 90 percent of the cases that that particular person knows of are fraudulent.

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Tina February 12, 2018 at 3:44 pm

Well spoken.

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Jason Dzubow February 13, 2018 at 7:19 am

Even the Asylum Division does not know how much fraud there is. They can measure how many people filed for asylum after the one-year bar, and maybe use that to try to estimate fraudulent cases, but such a measurement does not really tell us much about fraud. Also, the fact is, there are very few prosecutions for fraud, though there are some. It is just very difficult to know, and there is not much reliable evidence to help us. I believe fraud is a problem, but how much of a problem, I don’t know. Take care, Jason

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lulu February 12, 2018 at 8:47 pm

Essentially china has no difference than north korea without the tall buildings and fake economic statistic numbers. and that’s why many rich Chinese still look for any opportunity of immigration. you have no access to the most widely used website such as facebook, google, twitter, youtube,,,the party is going to take charge of everything, religion freedom?? no kidding! forced abortion is happening everywhere!

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Jason Dzubow February 13, 2018 at 7:14 am

China is one of the countries that have a reputation for fraudulent cases. That was certainly the case 10 or 20 years ago; whether it is still ban issue, I am not sure. Take care, Jason

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Sara February 13, 2018 at 10:36 am

I read an article a couple of years a ago about how there’s a Chinese asylum “business” here in NYC, where the cases are prewritten as part of the package. At the time, I saw a correlation between that and the lower than average approval rate at the NY asylum office (I didn’t take it to mean that Chinese cases = fraud).
We don’t even know how bad people might have it to seek the services of such businesses, but we have a clue that their country isn’t exactly known for its fair government and laws.
As for Chinese people being granted because their claims are hard to verify (per the OP), my thoughts are that if there are Chinese people getting granted, then there’s legitimacy to their particular claims — at least in the eyes of the asylum officer.

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Allen February 13, 2018 at 12:07 pm

minorities from China are treated so badly in China and we don’t hear enough information due to extreme government control on the news. Majority Han Chinese people, most of them support the government policy against minorities because of “national pride” but they too cry when their own rights are violated ( not so much compared with minorities). I can say with great surety that 90% of Majority Han Chinese cases are fake, they have money, they just buy stories and change the detail a little bit. They also pretend to love Jesus for a while to make an argument about religious persecution while they have no interest in Christianity. their “lawyers” make them sign up for a church and get letter for them and there is another business to teach them “interview related christianity questions” . However, 99% of Minorities ( Tibetans, Uyghurs , some Mounguls) all have very legitimate cases and USCIS know that.

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lulu February 13, 2018 at 5:48 pm

u kidding? the long-term one child policy in China only applies to Han, not the minorities. When referring the university entrance exam, only the minorities got extra bonus.

Allen February 13, 2018 at 9:31 pm

look how fast a “patriotic” asylum seeker compared his country to north Korea came to his countries defense when it comes to his country’s nazi behavior against minorities. This people even call the reports by wall street journal, new york time, BBC and CNN about nazi style concentration camps in China for minorities in the name of “political re-education camps” as “fake news”. NYT: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/03/opinion/sunday/china-surveillance-state-uighurs.html

BBC: http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-china-42911468/china-xinjiang-police-state-fear-and-resentment

Allen February 13, 2018 at 9:36 pm

By the way, one child policy is no more for Han chinese and so called University entrance exam bonus was for students whose mother language is not Chinese but took the exam in China and this Bonus is also removed since last year. Any way, you can not justify their inhumane sufferings with just “entrance exam bonus”…..

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Allen February 13, 2018 at 10:18 pm

wow ,,it is interesting to see how quick a “patriotic” asylum seeker just compared his country to north Korea came to his countries defense when it comes to his country’s inhumane behavior against minorities. This people even call the reports by wall street journal, new york times, BBC and CNN about ww2 style concentration camps in China for minorities in the name of “political re-education camps” as “fake news”. NYT: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/03/opinion/sunday/china-surveillance-state-uighurs.html

BBC: http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-china-42911468/china-xinjiang-police-state-fear-and-resentment

Joe February 12, 2018 at 8:58 am

Hello Jason,

I have filed an expedite request and it got approved. Per the letter i got, they said that i should the interview date and time later through mail. How long does it take usually to get an interview in such a case? do they give the decision fast as well since it is expedite?

Thanks,

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Asylum seeker February 12, 2018 at 10:31 am

In which office?

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Jason Dzubow February 13, 2018 at 7:06 am

It our local office (Virginia) it usually takes a Fe months to get the interview. An expedited interview seems to have no effect on how long it tokes to get the decision, at least that is my experience. Take care, Jason

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ZS February 14, 2018 at 10:49 am

Jason is right
My father expedited his interview and he was interviewed in the 8th of may 2017 and till now no decision

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Peter February 12, 2018 at 4:48 am

I applied for asylum
I recieved the receipt two weeks ago
But when I check the case online on USCIS site
It shows validation error says “My case status can’t recognize the receipt number……”
What should I do the check my case online

Thanks

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Jason Dzubow February 12, 2018 at 7:30 am

You cannot check an asylum case online. If you have the receipt and then the fingerprint appointment (which should arrive in the next few weeks), you should be fine. Take care, Jason

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RayFreedom February 11, 2018 at 3:53 pm

Jason,
My status is asylum pending. I am above 30 and single. My mom and my sister are permanent residents. My younger brother is a US citizen. My whole family left the country.
Can I start the process of her sponsoring me to get my green card and also simultaneously keep the process of asylum going?
Could this be negative during my Asylum interview?

Thank you for your good work!

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Jak February 11, 2018 at 5:33 pm

Hi. As long as I know you are not qualify to apply any other status since you are “out of status” by having asylum pending. This point is saying that your family can support you GC and in case if happened you must leave US and apply immigration interview in counsolate which will be difficult by your asylum case.

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Jason Dzubow February 12, 2018 at 7:23 am

There are some exceptions (but even these do not always apply), and so it is not a bad idea to talk to a lawyer about the specifics of the case to be sure of the situation. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow February 12, 2018 at 7:16 am

You mother could file an I-130 petition for you, but the waiting time is about 7 or 8 years, and you would probably need to leave the US to get your green card. Filing the petition would not affect your asylum case, though in practical terms, it is unlikely you would ever benefit from it. In any case, maybe it is good to do as a back up plan, if you don’t mind paying the USCIS fee. Take care, Jason

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Andre Silva February 11, 2018 at 11:52 am

Well, I believe that many apply for asylum without a basis for evidence or evidence for the case. Many, unfortunately, apply for asylum only to gain time or have a “legal way” to stay in the country for a good period of time … They are saying that the number of asylum seekers exceeds 311 thousand applicants. I believe half are fraudulent requests … No basis to be approved in the case of asylum. This has been disrupting the lives of many who are in fact evidence and more proof of the alleged persecutions in their country of origin. There are so many people with no concept, there are those who apply for asylum only because they disagreed with their neighbor and received a death threat … Impressive lack of information !!! Moreover, there are many lawyers thinking only about the money that they do not report to their clients all the truth before they even enter the case, they know that there is no thesis for their clients to be approved and even then, they get the cause !!! Unfortunate!! I agree with the new schedule of the USCIS, even knowing that for the time being, I will be harmed. Strong Hugs !!

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Jason Dzubow February 11, 2018 at 12:13 pm

I disagree with a number of your points. First, there is no evidence about the number of fraudulent cases, and so that is basically speculation. If 25+% of cases are granted at the asylum office and about 40 or 50% are granted in court, I think it does not support the claim that half of cases are fraudulent. You could be correct, but I just don’t know what evidence exists to support the claim. Also, what is a fraudulent case? Some people fear return to their country and do, in fact, have a very legitimate fear. However, they may not easily qualify for asylum because the claim does not fit into the framework of asylum (no nexus, for example). Is that a fraudulent case? It seems to me that it is not – it is a case where the person needs to try to present an argument about eligibility. It would be interesting if the government released data on cases where fraud was an actual issue – maybe a fake document or some other fraud. My guess is that we will not easily get this data because there is probably no widespread evidence of fraud (which does not mean fraud is not a problem – it is, but how much of a problem, we really do not know). Anyway, those are some of my thoughts. Take care, Jason

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Broken February 11, 2018 at 1:51 pm

Though I am not an expert but I would fully agree with Jason. To illustrate, if someone from my country enters the USA and fears persecutions if he were returned, I would easily get that even if the person has never been persecuted. So, if such a person seeks asylum in the USA because things are really falling apart back home, I doubt that would be viewed as a fraud as the person fears to return because of the current country conditions. What is currently happening in my country is worse than world war I or II and no normal human being would want to live in such conditions. That may not be one of the 5 grounds but if country conditions may be taken into account, the humanitarian crisis that my country has been facing would be a reason for one to seek asylum anywhere.
Besides, in my view, only young and unmarried people would come and go through this hard, unlimited, depressing process with the goal to find employment. It happens that I blame myself for being here because what I have been going through psychologically is not really different from persecutions I suffered in the past.
Thus, people should stopping shouting *fraud* all the time because you don’t know what people suffer in your country. On top of that, I worked for the US Embassy home and believe that it is extremely difficult to lie to these US officials who are professionally trained about something they know more than those claiming asylum. Shouting fraud all the time would be like digressing asylum officers and immigration judges
I could be wrong

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EB2 Seeker February 11, 2018 at 2:47 pm

Broken, I don’t know what your country is, I am Venezuelan and your comment sounds like you are describing Venezuela’s situation. In Venezuela people who do not support the government does not have regular access to food and medicines and frequently are repressed by police forces. On the contrary, people who belong to the government party can get medicines and food easily. From my point of view, more than 15 million of the population in facing this situation. Maybe most of them do not qualify for asylum because this is not a personal persecution, the government is acting against the whole group.

Many of these people are filing asylum cases in the US and in other countries because perhaps this is the only legal figure capable of protecting them from returning to the country. If they return they will very likely face jail or death, the government have been created groups of armed civilians (Bolivarian circles) who kill people who are openly against the government. But, the opposition people will most likely not be granted asylum because the asylum’s law is very clear regarding the persecution must be personal.

This does not mean that they are introducing a fake petition and I could say that 99% of Venezuelans have a real fear of returning to the country, but maybe only 10% of them qualify for asylum under current law.

Maybe laws makers need to create a different figure to protect Venezuelans and maybe Jason wants to create a post to talk about Venezuelan asylum seekers that by the way have become the largest number of asylum seekers in the US.

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Broken February 11, 2018 at 3:59 pm

EB2 Seeker,
I am actually from the Democratic Republic of Congo and if what you have described about Venezuela is what is currently going on there, I may assure you that what is going on in the DRC is even worse.
As I am writing, I have some veins that have been cut off, bones broken and many more but luckily I am alive.
Though many applicants from my country or yours may not qualify for asylum but I trust they should be granted even a kind of humanitarian protection.

Jason Dzubow February 12, 2018 at 7:11 am

It is very depressing that Venezuela was doing great for a while, and now it is a disaster. I have not seen grant rates for Venezuelans (and I only have a handful of cases – all sill pending). It seems to me that the persecution (which can include economic persecution) is political, and do I would guess that many Venezuelans have strong cases. It would be interesting to see some numbers though. It would also be a good topic to post about one of these days. Take care, Jason

Nisha sangra February 11, 2018 at 3:02 pm

I’m fully agreed with Jason.

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Ray February 11, 2018 at 3:43 pm

It’s sad to see how new immigrants turning against each other during this new tough rules and regulations to limit legal immigration. The other day 2 of my colleagues who are from China and India (countries with huge waiting list to apply for permanent residency) were arguing that DACA is unfair toward legal immigrants who brought their young kids legally to US and never visited their home-countries in ages, then they have to go back and apply for student visa at certain age to stay with their folks here.

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Jason Dzubow February 12, 2018 at 7:13 am

You should read the immigration lawyer list serves – it is very common that lawyers attack each other for small reasons. I suppose one good thing about the Trump Administration is that basically all immigration lawyers view it negatively, so that give us something in common. Take care, Jason

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Jamie February 11, 2018 at 5:11 pm

Andre,

It seems to me that the current administration’s views on legal immigration have not only successfully convinced the base it intended to convince but also people who are fleeing persecution and are themselves immigrants. If you are an asylum applicant or asylee, I can understand your frustration with what’s currently going on, especially when it comes to the new way of scheduling asylum interviews. However, you must be-careful not to fall trap to the false narratives being propagated about immigrants and refuges. You should also try to steer clear from committing the gross mistake of blaming the actual victims.

Furthermore, do not carelessly throw around false statistics: there is no evidence that supports your claim that almost 50% of the asylum applications are fraudulent. Also, bear in mind that once you fall into any of the categories/group (political, religious, social, etc.) that easily meets the eligibility for asylum, there needs to only be a 10% chance that you can be harmed if returned to the country of feared persecution. In other words, if you are filing for asylum as a religious minority who fears persecution because of your religion, LGBT applicant, or activist against a government regime, you don’t necessarily have to be beaten, attacked, or abused to qualify for asylum/meet definition of a refugee. If you fall into any of the established categories, there only needs to be a 10% chance of you getting attacked/killed.

So, yes, if you are a political activist, for example, and in your country political activists are targeted (and your government is a part of the persecution/ is unwilling or unable to control the oppressors), and your neighbors ONLY threaten you, you have legitimate fear of persecution and thus eligible to apply for asylum.

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Andre Silva February 12, 2018 at 9:15 am

Yes, maybe I expressed myself wrong, I lost it !!
In my country, I was a political activist and community reporter. I went through difficult situations and a thread, I was not murdered … My house was invaded and destroyed and thank God, I had time to run away with my family. My wife has a nightmare constantly, and suddenly, she was pregnant and she lost the child because of some psychological disturbance … I do not know !! We were in anguish, because all the asylum seekers want to solve their cases, just like me and my family. We have evidence, evidence, evidence and more evidence … All we wanted was to go through the interview and move on … Forgive my friends!
This is very sad and hopeless.

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DK February 10, 2018 at 10:58 pm

Hi Jason,

I had my interview last july amd I am still waiting for a decision. Meantime my wife and my son have arrived in US as refugees. I would like to know if she can petition for me. Maybe it will be the fastest way to ajust my status.

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Jason Dzubow February 11, 2018 at 8:17 am

Good question – I do not know how that works for refugees. I recommend you talk to a lawyer to research that for you. Or maybe start by reading the instructions to the I-730, available at http://www.uscis.gov, to see whether a refugee can petition for a spouse. If you have an answer, please let us know as that will help others. Thank you, Jason

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DK February 12, 2018 at 8:50 pm

Hi Jason,

I have checked the instructions to the I- 730 as you advised me. Actually, a refugee can petition for a relative, meaning spouse or/and children under 21 who are in or outside the US.

Thank you Jason for enlightening me.

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Jason Dzubow February 13, 2018 at 7:25 am

Thank you for sharing that, Jason

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Nico February 10, 2018 at 10:17 pm

I think that the idea that the reason of new change to FI-LO because they are trying to prevent newly applied applicants from staying for years on EAD has a certain flaw, simply because those who are now at the tale of the line will have to stay longer on their extended EADs. It is the same as if a pool has a constant rate of inflow and outflow the level of water (backlogged cases) will remain the same unless they would not change the rate out (interviews/ per month).

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Jason Dzubow February 11, 2018 at 8:14 am

They have hired new officers and are trying to get through the cases. I agree though that the problem is that they cannot keep up with the volume of cases, and so the “pool” is going to remain full for a while. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow February 13, 2018 at 6:46 pm

I agree that their objective is to terrorize people and thus deter non-citizens from coming here. However, I do not think the arrest was because of overstay. I may be wrong, and if so, we will see a patter of this soon enough. But for now, without more info, my guess is that he was arrested due to the warrant in UAE. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow February 13, 2018 at 11:19 pm

I think if ICE comes to detain someone, they will not give the person time to explain the situation. That would have to be done later, to the immigration judge. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow February 20, 2018 at 7:31 am

You can submit text messages and a statement from your mother. You can also submit any other evidence you have of abuse (medical reports, police reports). You should make sure your asylum form, the affidavit, and all the documents are accurate. Even though you are 20, you are responsible under US law for your submission. Also, you are the person who will be interviewed. If you filed recently, you could be interviewed soon, so make sure you gather all your evidence now, so you are ready if you are interviewed. Take care, Jason

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Jason Dzubow February 22, 2018 at 6:24 pm

There is no way for me to evaluate that without seeing the case. I will say that if you are not sure whether you have enough evidence, you should probably try to get more evidence. Or talk to a lawyer to evaluate the case. Take care, Jason

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