Skip to main content

Asylum Backlog - Tips While You Wait


The most common question that clients ask when they are considering filing an application for asylum is how long the process takes.  The response to this question has changed over the years.  Most recently, however, my response has been:  I wish I knew.  Two or three years ago my estimate of 9-12 months was fairly accurate and consistent. However the processing times of recently filed asylum applications have ranged widely, some taking as little as several months for a decision and others have taken years.  Currently there is a documented backlog in affirmative asylum applications of around 40,000 cases and the numbers continue to increase.  A majority of these backlogged cases were filed last year alone.  


The main reason for the backlog is simply an issue of supply and demand. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2012, the number of credible fear and reasonable fear interviews, which take priority in scheduling over asylum interviews, began to increase exponentially. Meanwhile, affirmative asylum applications have increased as well. And while demand has increased, and theasylum offices are working to keep up with the supply by training new officers that can adjudicate casesthe demand still outweighs the supply.

Some tips if you are among those in the backlog:

1)
    If you get scheduled for an interview, try and avoid rescheduling;
2)
    If you have a serious need to expedite your case, you may submit a request to expedite with a proof of your need for it. It is possible for an asylum office to override their system and schedule an interview expeditiously if the situation warrants;
3)
    Any address changes must be made in writing to the asylum office where the case is pending, cannot be made online with regard to a pending I-589 application. Changes in address within the jurisdiction of your current asylum office does not stop the work authorization clock (However if the new address is under the jurisdiction of a different asylum office the system will automatically change the jurisdiction of the case to the new asylum office, and will stop the EAD clock);
4)
    Continue to collect any documents in support of your claim for asylum that you come across, or have the ability to obtain, while you wait for your interview and keep abreast of any possible changes in your country’s conditions and be prepared to address them at your interview, particularly if they could appear to have improved

It can be extremely frustrating and unsettling for an individual to make the difficult choice to flee their homes in pursuit of stability and security then have to wait for months and years to know whether they really are stable in the United StatesI often try and comfort applicants with the knowledge that they wouldbe eligible to file applications for employment authorization cards that will permit them to work, get driver’s licenses.  Also I have seen many clients have a change in life circumstances that open up different (read: faster) doors to immigrating to the U.S.  If you have a long pending asylum application and are wondering if you’ll ever be interviewed, you can take comfort in the fact that, at the very least, you are not alone.  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

If You Are An Immigrant (even a US Citizen), Here Are 9 Things You Should Know

Are you a Naturalized U.S. Citizen, Lawful Permanent Resident, Visa Holder, or an Undocumented Immigrant? We recommend you take the following steps to protect yourself in our current version of America.
The last couple of weeks have reminded immigrants, even naturalized U.S. citizens, that they were not born in the United States. Our office has received countless phone calls, emails, and social media messages from people worrying about what their family’s future in the United States holds.
Most people want to know what they can do now to protect themselves from what promises to be a wave of anti-immigration activity by the federal government. Trump's Executive Order on Interior Enforcement has some provisions that should make most Americans shiver.  We recommend the following actions for each of the following groups:
Naturalized U.S. citizens. In particular if you have a foreign accent, and you are traveling within 100 miles of any US Border (including the oceans), we strongly rec…

Why is USCIS Taking So Long to Renew DACA Work Permits?

If the calls to our office are any indicator, there are thousands of DACA recipients whose work permit applications were filed at least three months prior to expiration, who are still waiting for their renewed work permits.  Without renewed permits, these individuals lose the right to work legally, the right to drive, and may once again accrue unlawful presence.

The DHS published a notice in October 2014 advising DACA recipients that they could file their request for extension up to 150 days (5 months) prior to expiration.  As with all things government, very few of the DACA recipients, who tend not to frequent government websites, knew about the memo and many did not file so far before expiration perhaps thinking that extending a work permit was a like extending a drivers license, its is done in a few minutes.  As an experienced immigration lawyer will tell you, the USCIS does nothing quickly, and certainly does not worry that a person may lose their job or their driver's licens…

LOS DERECHOS DE LOS EXTRANJEROS EN LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS

Todas las personas en los Estados Unidos, incluidos los extranjeros y aun los con ordenes de deportacion, tienen ciertos derechos básicos que deben ser respetados por los agentes de Inmigración y Aduanas (ICE). Estos derechos se derivan tanto de la Constitución de los Estados Unidos. y las leyes de Estados Unidos. Como extranjero, usted tiene los siguientes derechos:

SU DERECHO A DENEGAR LA ENTRADA A SU CASA
Usted tiene el derecho de negar la entrada a un agente de ICE a su casa sin una orden válida. Esta orden debe ser firmado por un juez. Usted puede negarse a abrir la puerta, o se puede cerrar la puerta después de descubrir que el agente no tiene una orden válida. Los agentes del ICE generalmente no vienen con una orden judicial. Estos agentes suelen venir a la casa de alguien con una orden final de deportación, muy temprano en la mañana. Si alguien está golpeando en su puerta a las 6:00 am, no le es requerido abrir la puerta. Mirar fuera de primera. Si es un agente del gobierno, ust…