USCIS Announces Misguided Scheduling Changes for Asylum Interviews
by CBJC Staff February 1, 2018
USCIS announced yesterday that as of January 29, 2018, it will process applications in reverse order, giving priority to the most recently filed asylum applications when scheduling asylum interviews (“last in, first out”). It is also discontinuing the Affirmative Asylum Bulletin.
USCIS will now schedule interviews in the following order of priority:
1) First priority: Applications that were scheduled for an interview, but the interview had to be rescheduled at the applicant’s request or the needs of USCIS.
2) Second priority: Applications that have been pending 21 days or less.
3) Third priority: All other pending affirmative asylum applications will be scheduled for interviews starting with newer filings and working back towards older filings.
This change is misguided. It does nothing to alleviate the tremendous backlog of cases and will only increase the pain and suffering of vulnerable and traumatized asylum seekers, many of whom have already waited years for their asylum office interview. Those caught in the backlog will continue to face prolonged family separation and suffer in a state of perpetual limbo.
The City Bar Justice Center’s Immigrant Justice Project has already reached out to pro bono counsel who have filed I-589s within the last 21 days. If you have recently taken on a case through the City Bar Justice Center, please reach out to consult and strategize with us before filing an I-589 on behalf of your client. We do not yet know how long it will take for pending, non-priority asylum cases to be scheduled. USCIS has indicated that those with urgent requests to be scheduled for an interview outside of these priority orders may submit written requests to the asylum office with jurisdiction over your case.
We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates on any developments.
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