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Affirmative Asylum: Changes to Asylum Interview Scheduling Priority

Asylum Interview Scheduling Priority in the Obama Administration

As of December 26, 2014, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) scheduled interviews for asylum seekers in the following order by priority:
  1. Applicants that had previously been scheduled for an interview but had to be rescheduled for a later date
  2. Child applicants
  3. All other pending applicants, starting with the oldest cases and working towards those most recently submitted
Although, even with this order of priority, applicants across the country, with the exception of those under the jurisdiction of the New Orleans office, were waiting over two years to be scheduled for their interview, creating massive backlogs. For those under the Miami office’s jurisdiction, the wait time to be scheduled for an asylum interview was 4.5 years.

Updates to Asylum Interview Scheduling Priority by the Trump Administration

Despite these unacceptably long wait times, the Trump administration has opted to change the asylum interview scheduling priority in a manner that will lengthen the wait time for those who have already been waiting months or years.  As of January 29, 2018, the new order of priority is as follows, with changes indicated in bold:
  1. Applicants that had previously been scheduled for an interview but had to be rescheduled for a later date
  2. Applications that have been pending 21 days or less
  3. All other pending applications, beginning with those submitted most recently and working back toward the oldest applications
Thus, by prioritizing the most recent applicants and working backward, all of those who have been waiting several years to have their interview scheduled will wait even longer. They will continue to live in limbo, not knowing if their claim of persecution will be granted or not.
DisclaimerThe purpose of this post is to provide general information and is not to be constituted as legal advice. If you need help with a specific issue, please seek the advice of an attorney.