Affirmative Asylum Scheduling Bulletin for September 2015

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Introduction: The Affirmative Asylum Backlog

In February, I discussed the New Jersey/New York Asylum Liaison Meeting. You may read my summary of the meeting by following this link. The main issue on the docket was the substantial backlog of affirmative asylum cases. I mentioned in my February post that as of that writing, we had a nationwide backlog of 70,000 asylum cases. Furthermore, the Newark and New York Asylum Offices had over 25,000 affirmative asylum cases in their combined backlogs alone.

While the numbers of cases continue to increase, the Department of Homeland Security has fortunately begun taking steps to alleviate the backlog. I described these steps in my February post. One concrete change, effective December 26, 2014, was that USCIS began setting priority levels for affirmative asylum interviews. Courtesy of USCIS, the following are the priorities:

  1. Applications that were scheduled for an interview, but the interview had to be rescheduled either at the applicant's request or pursuant to the needs of USCIS;
  2. Applications filed by children; and
  3. All other pending affirmative asylum applications in the order they were received, with oldest cases scheduled first.

The first two priorities will always take precedent and are generally scheduled promptly. Each month, USCIS posts a bulletin with updated estimates for which category 3 asylum applicants (based on the date the applicant filed for asylum) have had asylum interviews scheduled for the previous five months. This chart will give category 3 affirmative asylum applicants an idea of when their interviews may be scheduled, although, final scheduling will depend on each individual office's caseload and available resources.

The September 2015 Affirmative Asylum Scheduling Bulletin

The following chart, courtesy of USCIS, is the chart for category 3 Affirmative Asylum Applications for September of 2015:

Interview Schedule for Affirmative Asylum Applicants in Category 3

If you live under
the jurisdiction of…
We scheduled
interviews in…
For people
who filed in…
Arlington, VA August 2015 August 2013
  July 2015 August 2013
  June 2015 August 2013
  May 2015 July 2013
  April 2015 June-July 2013
Chicago, IL* August 2015 May 2013
  July 2015 May 2013
  June 2015 May 2013
  May 2015 May 2013
  April 2015 May 2013
Houston, TX* August 2015 April 2014
  July 2015 April 2014
  June 2015 April 2014
  May 2015 April 2014
  April 2015 March-April 2014
Los Angeles, CA* August 2015 August 2011
  July 2015 August 2011
  June 2015 August 2011
  May 2015 August 2011
  April 2015 August 2011
Miami, FL* August 2015 February 2013
  July 2015 February 2013
  June 2015 February 2013
  May 2015 February 2013
  April 2015 February 2013
Newark, NJ August 2015 May-June 2013
  July 2015 April 2013
  June 2015 April 2013
  May 2015 March 2013
  April 2015 December 2012
New York, NY August 2015 November 2013
  July 2015 June-July 2013
  June 2015 May-June 2013
  May 2015 April 2013
  April 2015 January 2013
San Francisco, CA August 2015 August 2013
  July 2015 July 2013
  June 2015 July 2013
  May 2015 June 2013
  April 2015 May 2013

 

* Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami have been scheduling interviews in the first two categories due to high volumes in those categories as well as in the credible and reasonable fear caseloads.

[Note: The chart does not include interviews for the Form I-881, Application for Suspension of Deportation or Special Rule Cancellation of Removal (pursuant to Section 203 of Public Law 105-100 (NACARA) — Please follow this link to learn more about that subject].

Conclusion: The Affirmative Asylum Process

If you have a pending asylum application, or are considering filing for asylum, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney immediately if you have not already. An experienced immigration attorney is important in every step of the asylum process, including the asylum interview. To learn more about asylum, please visit our growing collection of asylum resources. Please continue to check my blog for updates on developments regarding asylum adjudication and many other areas of immigration law.

Resources and materials:

“Affirmative Asylum Scheduling Bulletin,” USCIS, September 11, 2015, available at www.uscis.gov [link]