USCIS to Adjudicate Recent Asylum Filings Over Older Applications to Combat Massive Backlog
“Last in but, First Out” Really! Yes really! Zero sense!!! This was a reaction of many lawyers and asylums seekers when on January 30th, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency responsible for overseeing the nation’s legal immigration system announced that it will schedule asylum interviews for recent applications ahead of older filings, in an attempt to stem the growth of the agency’s asylum backlog. Immigrant advocates agree that the asylum backlogs harm those seeking protection from persecution or violence abroad but said the Trump administration’s decision would push those people into an even longer wait.
“Asylum seekers already waiting in the backlog will be severely disadvantaged – and even be sent wrongfully back to violent life-threatening conditions – because their cases will be further delayed and they will have even more difficulty getting witnesses and evidence to support their claims,” said Greg Chen, director of government relations at the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
USCIS will now prioritize applications pending 21 days or less and to address this problem, USCIS will follow these priorities when scheduling affirmative asylum interviews. However, while the USCIS Director L. Francis Cessna says: “Delays in the timely processing of asylum applications are detrimental to legitimate asylum seekers”; In New York City, Human Rights First warned that changes announced by USCIS to process asylum applications in reverse order—with the newest claims processed first—will impose additional burdens and suffering on legitimate asylum seekers who have already waited years for their asylum interviews. This change will impose even more suffering on the many refugees who have already been waiting in some cases up to four years for their asylum interviews.
Even if the Immigration agency is trying to review newest asylum cases first in bid to deter fraud but, this will hurt many asylum seekers who have been waiting for interview.