A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Asylum Interviews - Last In, First Out

If you filed your political asylum application with the USCIS recently, you will likely be scheduled for an interview sooner than you think.

USCIS announced today that it is changing the order the agency is processing pending affirmative applications for political asylum; it will give priority to cases that have been pending for 21 days or less.  Specifically, the Asylum Office will interview cases in the following order:

  • Applications that were scheduled for an interview, but the interview had to be rescheduled at the applicant’s request or the needs of USCIS;
  • Applications pending 21 days or less since filing; and
  • All other pending applications, starting with newer filings and working back toward older filings.
  • Additionally, the Affirmative Asylum Bulletin issued by USCIS has been discontinued.

The change of processing order is intended to address the agency's concerns that some filers may be abusing the current backlog of asylum cases to obtain employment authorization. Currently there are about 311,000 pending asylum applications with USCIS.  Filing of an asylum application entitles the applicant to apply for employment authorization to work in the U.S. after the case has been pending for a period of time. By using a “last in, first out” interview schedule, USCIS aims to discourage foreigners from filing frivolous or otherwise non-meritorious asylum claims.   

A person without a valid immigration status whose asylum claim has been denied is usually placed in removal proceedings. 

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