Friday, September 24, 2010

Seattle Immigration Lawyer | Asylum Basics Continued, The Asylum Officer’s Decision

The officer will not make a decision on your case at the interview. Instead, you will receive the decision in the mail at least two weeks after the interview and possibly months after. Depending on the asylum office, you may be told to return to the office at a certain date/time to pick up the decision. Some cases take only a few weeks, while other cases have taken well over a year before a decision is issued. Unfortunately, there is not much that you can do to speed up the process, other than sending a letter inquiring about the status of the decision.

Asylees are often very intimated by asylum officers. After all, the asylum officer has a lot of power for someone who is not a judge. However, in most cases, the asylum officer cannot deny your application. In general, the asylum officer has the power to grant your asylum case or refer your case to an Immigration Court. He or she can also issue a “recommended approval,” if the officer intends to grant the application but there are additional security checks required. Now, if you already have a valid legal status in the U.S., and the officer intends to deny the application, he or she can issue a “notice of intent to deny,” which gives you 16 days to explain in writing either why your claim should be granted and/or submit new evidence to support the claim. If you do not respond within the 16 days, or your response fails to overcome the officer’s reasons for denial, the officer will issue a final denial. Of course, the officer may also grant the application at this point as well.

In my next article I will discuss what happens if the asylum officer refers your case to the Immigration Court, or, as we would hope, if your asylum case is granted.

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