USCIS’ NEW ASYLUM PRIORITIES WILL DO NOTHING TO STEM THE FLOW OF BOGUS ASYLUM SEEKERS.
On January 29, 2018 USCIS rolled out its new set of asylum priorities designed to ferret out bogus asylum applicants. Under the present prioritization affirmative asylum applicants have had their cases heard in the order they were received, with some exceptions.
USCIS is aware that some asylum seekers are gaming the system with bogus asylum claims. These fake claims are filed only to gain work authorization and stall for time to remain legally in the U.S. hoping that some change in the law or their situation will allow them to remain in the U.S. and grant them legal status. There are thousands of such asylum seekers.
The new rules reprioritize the adjudication of affirmative asylum applications into the following order:
First Priority: Applications that were scheduled for an interview, but the interview had to be rescheduled at the applicant’s request or the needs of USCIS.
Second Priority: Applications that had been pending 21 days or less.
Third Priority: All other pending affirmative asylum applications will be scheduled for interviews starting with the newer filings and working towards the older filings.
The new rules mandating last in first out policy for scheduling asylum interviews has little hope in succeeding if the stated purpose is ferreting out bogus asylum seekers.
If USCIS aggressively goes after the newest asylum applications the result will be a likely collapse of the immigration court system that already is in a legal hospice. While the immigration court system gasps for each breath with cases taking up to 5 years to be heard in some parts of the U.S. the effect of the new prioritization will be thousands of more applicants dumped on the immigration court system. All affirmative asylum seekers can have their cases heard in Immigration Court after a denial by an asylum adjudicator. Most Immigration Judges already have 5000 or more pending cases on their dockets. This in turn will result of ever longer lines of applicants waiting to have their cases heard in Immigration Court.
The shuffling of the deck chairs on the Titanic is no solution. The solution is the recruitment of hundreds of more asylum adjudicators and hundreds of more immigration judges. That is the only solution that makes sense. It also is the only way to eliminate the backlog of pending asylum cases both at the Asylum Offices and the Immigration Courts. Once the backlog is whittled away the U.S. can bring sanity to the system and real asylum applicants can have their cases and appeals heard in a reasonable amount of time by adjudicators who will have the time to consider each case and apply the law accordingly in a fair way.