Rather than interviewing those who have been waiting months or years for their interview, asylum offices will now prioritize brand new filings ahead of all others waiting.
While scheduling asylum interviews in a timely manner is important to applicants, as well as the government, this decision will create obstacles for many worthy applicants looking to successfully claim asylum.
While applicants wait for an interview, memories fade, supporting documents get lost, corroborating witnesses become harder to find, and evidence grows stale.
Long delays also prevent family members from reuniting in safety together, as spouses or children may be left in tenuous situations outside of the United States.
Announced in late January and effective immediately, USCIS will schedule interviews following three priorities:
• Applications previously scheduled, but the interview had to be rescheduled at the request of the applicant or USCIS;
• Applications pending 21 days or less since filing; and
• All other pending asylum applications, starting with newer filings and working back toward older filings.
USCIS currently reports a backlog of 311,000 pending asylum cases, which has steadily grown in the past five years as violent conditions in the northern triangle of Central America sent many asylum seekers to the U.S. southern border.
If you need additional advice, call (718) 407-0871 or visit prizant-law.com.