Asylum Under Fire

At the end of January 2018, it was reported that the asylum backlog included an estimated 300,000 pending applications and the U.S. government had plans to review more recent asylum applications pushing those applicants who have been waiting for their cases to be processed further behind. Asylum Under Fire.

As stated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), asylum status is a form of protection available to people who meet the definition of refugee, are already in the U.S. and are seeking admission at a port of entry.  According to 8 U.S. Code §1158 on asylum, “Any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States,” (whether or not at a designated port of arrival…) may apply for asylum.”

You qualify for asylum if you have been persecuted by the government of your country or by a group that the government is unable or unwilling to control – a “credible or well-founded fear of persecution” based on (1) race, (2) nationality, (3) religion, (4) political opinion, or (5) membership in a particular social group. There is no filing fee associated when filing for asylum, but the application should be filed within one (1) year of arrival in the U.S. In addition, you should be aware that there are bars to eligibility for asylum, one being that if you were “firmly resettled” in another country prior to arriving in the U.S.  This means that without an exception, while in that country, you received an offer of permanent resident status, citizenship or other type of permanent resettlement.

However, just last month U.S. President Donald Trump issued a proclamation to deny migrants crossing some borders illegally the opportunity to apply for asylum. This decision from the Trump administration appears to target persons migrating from Central America more than other areas. Asylum Under Fire.

If you plan to file for asylum, 8 C.F.R. 208.4(b)(1) requires the applicant to file Form I-589, Application for Asylum with the Service Center servicing the Asylum Office having jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence.

USCIS Service Centers receipt numbers starts with:

CSC   California Service Center;
NBC  National Benefits Center;
NSC  Nebraska Service Center;
TSC   Texas Service Center;
VSC   Vermont Service Center;
YSC   Potomac Service Center.

The USCIS Service Centers process asylum applications and issue a USCIS receipt number.  You can enter the receipt number for your case in the USCIS website online case status portal to get the processing time for your asylum application.

Asylum Office receipt numbers in asylum cases start with three letters as follows:

ZAR   Arlington Asylum Office;
ZCH  Chicago Asylum Office;
ZHN  Houston Asylum Office;
ZLA   Los Angeles Asylum Office;
ZMI   Miami Asylum Office;
ZNK  Newark Asylum Office;
ZNY   New York Asylum Office;
ZSF   San Francisco Asylum Office;


Z–   New Orleans Asylum Office;
Z–   Boston Asylum Office;

Although the USCIS Service Center processes asylum applications, you will not be able to use the USCIS website online case status portal to check the case status of an asylum application. USCIS does not recognize receipt numbers of asylum applications. To check the status of your asylum application, you or your legal representative should go to the asylum office that has jurisdiction over your case and make an inquiry in person.

Just recently on Friday, December 21, 2018, the Supreme Court refused to allow the Trump administration to immediately enforce its new policy of denying asylum to migrants who illegally crossed the Mexican border.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined four other chief justices in refusing to immediately reinstate the administration’s asylum policy.  Asylum Under Fire.

Life circumstances and country conditions compel immigrants to take extreme measures and suffer incredible risks to improve their basic human conditions. As with any program that bestow benefits upon an individual, frivolous and fraudulent cases are filed in addition to the many legitimate claims. Although, actions by the Trump administration have restricted the number of persons applying for asylum, merits of his administration’s asylum policy are still being considered.

Asylum Under Fire.


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