Asylum law is extremely complex and has undergone several key changes that any asylum applicant must be aware of and the need to consult an experienced immigration attorney has never been greater.
For example, the current administration has enacted several sweeping and drastic changes that have made the asylum process much more difficult to navigate, even with competent counsel. The Trump administration has cut the number of asylum cases that can be approved each year by 50%! This means in practical terms that you have to prepare and present your case in a much more thorough and detailed manner than before in order to have a reasonable opportunity to win asylum. In plain terms, asylum officers and judges that approve or deny claims have to be twice as selective and will effectively grant 1 of 2 cases they would have prior to these changes! Contact one of our experienced immigration attorneys in Orlando for a consultation before proceeding with your case.
Changes to the Affirmative Asylum System
This initial change was followed by a complete overhaul of the affirmative asylum system. On January 31, 2018, the Trump administration reversed the priorities in terms of how asylum cases are processed. Previously, after pending cases that needed to be rescheduled, the top priority was assigned to cases filed by minors. Next cases were processed from oldest to newest, in the order received. Additionally, applicants and attorneys had access to the Affirmative Asylum Scheduling Bulletin, a handy tool which allowed all parties to see where each asylum office (such as Miami or San Francisco for example) was at in terms of which filing dates were being scheduled for interviews. This bulletin typically demonstrated how much time an applicant could anticipate between filing their claim and the initial interview at an asylum office (in Miami the last published Bulletin indicated that for those applicants were receiving interview dates in January 2018, the average applicant had filed their case back in June of 2013!). This was never intended as a planning tool but it offered reasonable guidance regarding timelines of a case.
All of that went away. The Bulletin was discontinued. The new priority system still states that rescheduled interviews are top priority. Sadly, minor children are no longer a priority. Top priority now is in reverse, meaning that cases are supposed to be scheduled for interview within 21 days of filing and cases are handed from newest to oldest. This has had devastating effects upon those applicants who have been waiting since 2014 for an initial interview, often times while being separated from family in their country of origin. If you applied between 2013 and 2017, contact one of our experienced Orlando immigration attorneys to discuss your case.
Furthermore, for new applicants, the changes are just as drastic. Now, instead of the typical 4 1/2 year wait time, the average applicant must be ready to have an interview in 3 weeks! This makes the proper presentation and filing of an asylum application more important than ever before, because the opportunity to supplement the application prior to an interview has vanished. If you are applying for affirmative asylum today, you must gather the best proof and evidence possible, and put additional effort into the personal statement or asylum brief attached to the application on the front end.
If your asylum case is referred to an immigration judge just 2 weeks later, many more changes have been implemented. For example, immigration judges are now required to complete asylum cases within 6 months when possible. This is much sooner than the average of 2 years or longer that court cases took prior to this change announced on November 19, 2018. Again, the need to be prepared is much greater and the opportunity to supplement your case is much more limited. If you are an asylum applicant whose case has been referred to Immigration Court, then you should consult with an experienced Orlando immigration attorney at Brandt Immigration.
Finally, in the past, if an asylum applicant were to experience a life changing event such as marriage to a United States Citizen, then in certain cases, the immigration judge could close their court case and allow the applicant to seek a green card from USCIS. Immigration judges were stripped of the ability to close cases for those reasons. If for some reason the court does not have jurisdiction over an applicant’s adjustment of status case (such as an arriving alien), then an applicant could be ordered deported instead of receiving a green card!
Experienced Orlando Immigration and Asylum Attorney
Asylum changes are not just limited to processing of cases, but new changes now limit asylum and offer less protections to certain types of cases. For example, generally speaking, people fleeing their country due to gang violence or domestic abuse no longer qualify for asylum in a terrible draconian policy change that took effect in June of 2018! If you are an applicant seeking asylum based upon gang violence or domestic abuse, it is critical towards winning your case that you consult with an experienced Orlando immigration and asylum attorney at Brandt Immigration now!
As you can see, navigating the complexities of an asylum case has never been more difficult and challenging than now. Our Orlando immigration attorneys offer detailed consultations using over 25 years of combined experience handling asylum cases and adapting to the slew of changes to give you the best reasonable opportunity to have a successful outcome in your case. Let Brandt Immigration guide you thoroughly and competently with personalized caring attention to detail and compassion while fighting for your rights!