Proposal Changing Work Permit for Asylum

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced a proposed rule to deter aliens from illegally entering the United States and from filing frivolous, fraudulent or otherwise non-meritorious asylum applications to obtain work permit for asylum.

The proposed rule will better allow USCIS to extend protections to those with bona fide asylum claims. USCIS also seeks to prevent certain criminal aliens from obtaining work authorization before the merits of their asylum application are adjudicated.

As directed by the presidential memorandum, USCIS proposes to:

  • Prevent aliens who entered the United States illegally from obtaining work permit for pending asylum application, with limited exceptions; and
  • Automatically terminate employment authorization when an applicant’s asylum denial is administratively final.

Additionally, USCIS proposes to:

  • Clarify that an asylum applicant’s failure to appear for a required appointment may lead to dismissal of their asylum application and/or denial of their application for employment authorization;
  • Prevent aliens who fail to file their asylum application within one year of their latest entry as required by law from obtaining work authorization; and
  • Render any alien who has been convicted in the United States of any federal or state felony, or convicted of certain public safety offenses involving child abuse, domestic violence, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, ineligible for employment authorization.

Unresolved arrests or pending charges may result in the denial of the application for employment authorization as a matter of discretion.

For more information on Work Permit for Asylum,

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Asylum claim at a previous country

The Trump Administration announced rules that migrants coming from Central America who have passed through other countries en route to the U.S. border will no longer be able to make a claim for asylum beginning July 16. Immigration attorneys and experts say the rule is a violation of domestic and international asylum laws, and federal judge has sided with the administration in one of two cases brought against the new rule.

On July 15, the Trump Administration announced the change to asylum rules making it so that migrants had to have made an asylum claim at a previous country while en route to the U.S. before arriving to the southern border — anyone who hasn’t becomes ineligible for asylum in the U.S.

On July 24, a federal judge in San Francisco temporarily blocked the new Trump administration policy that sought to bar Central Americans and other migrants from requesting asylum at the southern border, saying the federal government’s frustrations with rising border crossings did not justify “shortcutting the law.”

U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar, who halted another version of the Trump administration’s asylum ban last year, said a “mountain” of evidence showed that migrants could not safely seek asylum in Mexico. He said the rule likely violated federal law in part by categorically denying asylum to almost anyone crossing the border. U.S. law generally allows anyone who sets foot on U.S. soil to apply for asylum.

For more information on asylum claim at a previous country, 

text | whatsapp | call 407-292-7730 or email gail@gaillaw.com

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Asylum Denials and Decisions Jump in 2018

Fiscal year 2018 broke records for the number of decisions (42,224) by immigration judges granting or denying asylum. Denials grew faster than grants, pushing denial rates up as well. The 42,224 decisions represented a 40 percent jump from decisions during FY 2017, and an 89 percent increase over the number of asylum decisions of two years ago.

In past year, 65% of cases received asylum denials.  This is the sixth year in a row that denial rates have risen. Six years ago the denial rate was just 42.0 percent. See Figure 1. (For year-by- year figures, see Appendix Table 1 at the end of this report.)

Figure 1. Immigration Court Asylum Decisions
FY 2001 – FY 2018
(Click for larger image)

What Do Immigration Court Asylum Grant and Denial Rates Really Mean?

Immigration judges’ decisions on asylum applications are not necessarily the same as the outcome of each case. A asylum denial does not automatically result in a deportation order. The individual could have qualified for some other form of relief, or was otherwise found by the immigration judge to not be deportable and was accordingly allowed to remain in the country.

Currently the government does not publish or provide public access to data that would allow complete tracking of the final outcome from all asylum cases. This occurs in part because multiple agencies are involved, often with separate tracking systems. Only a partial portrait is therefore available from Immigration Court data.

The situation is particularly confusing for unaccompanied children from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and other countries that do not directly border this country. While the Immigration Court generally has jurisdiction over their cases, their actual applications for asylum are typically submitted directly to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If asylum officers at USCIS determine they are entitled to asylum, the Immigration Court will use the USCIS decision as a basis for closing the child’s case. However, the decision to allow them to remain in the country will not be recorded as a grant of asylum in the court’s records. This is because court records only separately track asylum decisions made by immigration judges.

Table 1 compares case outcome in FY 2018 for the top four nationalities seeking asylum, and compares these with asylum grant and denial rates.

Table 1. Asylum Grant and Denial Rates and
Overall Immigration Court Case Outcomes in FY 2018
Asylum Decision Grant/Deny All Asylum Applications All Immigration Court Cases
Number Granted Number Outcome:
Can Remain in U.S.
Number Outcome:
Can Remain in U.S.
All Nationalities 42,224 35.0% 64,974 39.2% 215,569 33.2%
El Salvador 8,232 23.5% 12,073 31.1% 28,665 37.6%
Honduras 6,240 21.2% 8,745 23.9% 30,242 27.2%
Guatemala 6,052 18.8% 9,214 24.9% 37,571 26.2%
Mexico 5,379 14.5% 10,896 33.5% 65,792 24.7%

Note that for El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala the proportion allowed to remain in the country is higher than the asylum grant rate. As a result, the proportion of those allowed to remain in the country is somewhat higher than the simple grant and denial rate suggests.

Of course, not all individuals from these three countries apply for asylum in Immigration Court. The last two columns in Table 1 include the outcome for all Immigration Court cases. The proportion of those allowed to stay from these three countries is somewhat higher even than on those submitting asylum applications to the court.   This partially reflects the inclusion of favorable outcomes for many unaccompanied children’s cases who submit their application to USCIS rather than directly to the Immigration Court.

Judge-by-Judge Differences in Asylum Decisions

The outcome for asylum seekers continued to depend on the identity of the immigration judge (more…)

U.S. Border Asylum Seekers Face Trump 90-day Ban to Apply for Asylum

Trump administration enacted an interim immigration rule effective midnight November 9, 2018 and for the next 90 days,  that invoke national security powers to prevent asylum seekers from entering the U.S. and prevents them from applying for asylum if they entered without paper (or valid visas).  The strategy appears to be aimed at preventing members of a Central American caravan from entering the U.S.  The president will use the same authority that he relied upon to ban travel from mostly Muslim countries just days after he became President.  Trump is trying to use his executive discretion to override a specific thing that Congress wrote into the law.

The text of the Immigration and Nationality Act specifies that people may apply for asylum “whether or not” they enter the US at a port of entry. When someone enters the U.S., if he or she has a “credible fear” of persecution (in other words, that there’s a significant possibility they would be persecuted if deported based on her race, nationality, religion, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group), then he or she is allowed to go before an immigration judge.  This can take some time, so the person is released on bond and can be granted work authorization while awaiting their day in immigration court.

If he or she is ineligible for asylum but still has reason to fear persecution, he or she can receive a lesser form of protection — called withholding of removal — that allows her to stay in the US but gives her no path to permanent legal status.

Trump interim rule or executive order will force asylum seekers to choose between having to wait for weeks or longer at overloaded ports of entry — unless they’re prevented by smugglers from coming to a port at all — and risking near-immediate deportation by crossing illegally and turning themselves in to Border Patrol.

It is near-certain that the policy will be subject to a lawsuit in the immediate future — maybe even before the policy even goes into effect at midnight Saturday. It is extremely likely that the policy will be put on hold by a federal judge ruling against the administration soon after that. (more…)

Asylum Seekers who Fear Domestic Abuse or LGBTQ Persecution Ineligible for U.S. Asylum

Asylum seekers can no longer seek asylum in the U.S. citing fears of domestic abuse, gang violence or fear as a LGBTQ individual .  On June 11, 2018, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions referred a Board of Immigration Appeals case to himself and issued a decision stating members of particular “social groups,” including domestic violence victims and LGBTQ individuals cannot file a petition for asylum.  He reversed an immigration appeals court ruling that granted it to a Salvadoran woman who said she had been sexually, emotionally and physically abused by her husband (Matter of AB-, 27 I&N Dec. 227 (A.G. 2018)).

Asylum, the right to remain in the country,requires proof that an immigrant faces persecution because of his or her race, religion, nationality, political views or membership in a particular social group. It includes private abuses that the home government is unable or unwilling to control. (more…)

Asylum Backlog – Recent Filings Interviewed FIRST Ahead of Older Filings

American flag, US constitution and a judge’s gavel symbolizing the American justice system or the Judicial Branch of government ( Judiciary )

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that the agency will schedule asylum interviews for recent applications ahead of older filings, in an attempt to stem the growth of the agency’s asylum backlog.  Returning to a “last in, first out” interview schedule will allow USCIS to identify frivolous, fraudulent or otherwise non-meritorious asylum claims earlier and place those individuals into removal proceedings.

In some cases, immigrants file asylum applications, knowing it is a 3-6 year backlog for an interview and in the meanwhile, they get employment authorization.  “Delays in the timely processing of asylum applications are detrimental to legitimate asylum seekers,” said USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna. “Lingering backlogs can be exploited and used to undermine national security and the integrity of the asylum system.”

The agency currently faces a crisis-level backlog of 311,000 pending asylum cases as of Jan. 21, 2018, making the asylum system increasingly vulnerable to fraud and abuse. This backlog has grown by more than 1750 percent over the last five years, and the rate of new asylum applications has more than tripled. (more…)

Immigration Lawyer for Children Facing Deportation

President Obama to start program to provide lawyers to children facing deportation –  since October, more than 47,000 children traveling without parents (unaccompanied minor) have been caught trying to cross the southwest border.  There are a few options available for an immigration lawyer for children facing deportation:

Immigration Options for Unaccompanied Minor Immigrant Child – Asylum

You may apply for asylum as an unaccompanied minor if you:

  • Are under 18 years old;
  • Have no parent or legal guardian in the United States available to provide care and physical custody.

Asylum officers will decide your case if you are in immigration court proceedings or filed your application with an asylum office. You must attend your immigration court hearings and should follow the Immigration Judge’s instructions.

Immigration Options for Unaccompanied Minor Immigrant Child – Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) Status

To be eligible for SIJ status:

  • You must be under 21 years old on the filing date of the Special Immigrant Juvenile Application
  • Your state court order must be in effect on the filing date of the Special Immigrant Juvenile Application and when USCIS makes a decision on your application, unless you “aged out” of the state court’s jurisdiction due to no fault of your own
  • You cannot be married, both when you file your application and when USCIS makes a decision on your application

For more information, email Gail@GailLaw.com or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.
FREE in-office consultation – FREE Live Chat www.GailLaw.com

Copyright © 2014, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.