Starting from January 29, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) gives priority to most recent affirmative asylum applications when scheduling asylum interviews. This interview scheduling approach is known as “last in, first out” interview scheduling.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Scheduling Approach
The “last in, first out” interview scheduling approach was introduced in 1995 and was in place until 2014 when USCIS switched to the “first in, first out” approach. Pursuant to the “first in, first out” approach, USCIS was giving priority to oldest asylum applications. This approach turned out to be not very efficient and resulted in an unprecedented backlog of asylum cases. In the majority of asylum offices new asylum applicants had to wait for years for their asylum interviews. As a result, many frivolous asylum applications were filed because the applicants were able to obtain employment authorization within six (6) months from filing their applications and to legally work for years until the scheduling of their asylum interviews.
The major reason for returning to the “last in, first out” approach is to deter the filing of frivolous asylum applications just for obtaining employment authorization. According to the new policy, USCIS will give priority to the most recently filed affirmative asylum applications. This approach will allow USCIS to identify non-meritorious asylum applicants and to place them in removal proceedings. The risk of being placed in removal proceeding might discourage people from filing a frivolous asylum application.
USCIS Affirmative Asylum Interviews Order of Priority
According to the website of USCIS affirmative asylum interviews will be scheduled in the following order of priority:
- 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 have been pending 21 days or less.
- Third priority: All other pending affirmative asylum applications will be scheduled for interviews starting with newer filings and working back towards older filings.
If you or someone you know has questions with respects to seeking for asylum or filing for an asylum application, please feel free to give our office a call. Our Los Angeles immigration attorney provide a free no obligation immigration consultation. speak English, French, Spanish, Russian, Armenian, and Italian.
Last in, First out Policy
Recently arrived foreigners with fear to return to their home countries shall definitely be happy with the “last in, first out” policy as they will not have to wait for years in order to have their cases heard by an immigration officer. On the other side, applicants with already filed cases might have to wait for several years until their asylum interviews. Only time will show the effectiveness of the new policy for scheduling affirmative asylum interviews.
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