Affirmative Asylum Interview

The Asylum Interview

The USCIS will hold an interview at a local USCIS office to adjudicate your claim to asylum. You need to properly prepare. The interviewing officer will look at the evidence submitted with your application, and ask many detailed questions about your claims. The officer will be familiar with the country you fled and its conditions. Talking to an asylum officer is like an interview with a police officer. They have experience and training. They dig into each issue and assess it.

Therefore, you must be able to meet each requirement to put forward a compelling case.

Your entire testimony can be doubted if there is any significant part of your testimony that is not credible and believable. The officer will consider your body language, how you present yourself, the consistency of your story, and all available evidence. Often, people do not have the right evidence to make the claim.

Witnesses can testify during your asylum interview to bolster your case. Additionally, you can submit an affidavit.

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After conducting the interview, the officer normally does not make an immediate decision on your case. They will reach a decision within 14 days. The applicant and the attorney receive the verdict in the mail. The applicant receives refugee status along with all available refugee benefits if the decision is approved. Alternatively, if the applicant is denied asylum, they may have to leave the United States.

Affirmative Asylum Application Denial:

If the USCIS officer refuses your case, it is referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for removal proceedings. The first court hearing will likely be scheduled within two months after the USCIS denies your affirmative asylum case. You will have the opportunity to seek any available forms of relief in court before the judge.

You may reassert your political asylum claim in removal proceedings. Asylum in removal proceedings is known as “defensive asylum”.

The judge makes the final decision. Although you may present new evidence such as changed country conditions to the immigration judge, asylum applications have a much better chance of success when filed affirmatively with the USCIS than when filed defensively in immigration court.

Allan Scott Lolly

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Your case is not over just because you are in removal proceedings! Although, if you have not retained counsel up to this point, you should do so immediately so that you have the best chance at winning your case in court. Often, people working on their own or without a competent attorney will include comments or documents in the file that hurts their case. Sometimes, the information is confusing or even incorrect, because the person preparing your asylum case was not careful.

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