Although the results of each specific asylum case may differ based on the asylum office and particular interviewing officer, it is important for all asylum applicants to carefully prepare for their asylum interviews. Attorney participation at the interview is very important. If an applicant is not sufficiently prepared for the interview, his or her application may be denied or transferred to immigration court. Related: How to Prepare for Asylum Interview.
Applying for asylum through immigration court (defensive asylum application) is much more difficult than through the asylum office (affirmative asylum application). In immigration court, the respondent is just one step away from deportation order if his or her application for asylum is denied. Importantly, immigration court proceedings take years, whereas asylum offices usually schedule an interview within several months, and decide on the case within a few weeks after the asylum interview (Video: Changes in Affirmative Asylum Scheduling). Often, asylum applicants in immigration court proceedings have to wait 4 or 5 years, especially if their process involves rescheduling court dates or appealing judge’s decisions. To be represented in immigration court by a lawyer, the asylum applicant has to pay additional attorney’s fees, which could have been avoided had the case been approved by asylum office. Related: Deportation Proceedings in Immigration Court.
Immigration courts are notorious for failing to properly calculate asylum seekers’ clocks, which determine their eligibility for work authorization. If you become a victim of such administrative error and your asylum clock does not start or restart when it should, you may end up waiting all these years unable to work legally. If you are eligible for employment authorization, the filing fee is waived for first-time asylum applicants, but after your employment authorization card expires in one year, you have to pay filing fee (currently $380) for each renewal. If your court proceedings take many years, you may have to spend thousands of dollars to be eligible to work during this time.
The process in court is adversarial; during a hearing, there is a judge and an opposing side – a government attorney, also known as prosecutor – who is often trying to disprove the applicant and find inconsistencies in the applicant’s story. In the asylum office, on the other hand, the process is non-adversarial; during an asylum interview, the interviewing officer simply asks questions, and the applicant answers.
Professionals at I.S. Law Firm have helped numerous applicants from many countries to obtain asylum in the United States. It is very important to select the most effective immigration lawyer for your case. Because your asylum application is an important step in your life that could ultimately determine whether or not you and your family can legally stay in the United States, it is crucial to have an experienced and zealous immigration lawyer to help you. An experienced attorney will help you prepare your asylum application, identify and gather corroborating evidence, and represent you in asylum interview or hearings. In selecting an asylum lawyer, you should always consider the following factors:
(1) The lawyer’s familiarity with the political and social conditions in the country of your origin – Some lawyers, although experienced in immigration laws, may not be sufficiently informed or educated about the client’s home country. As such, it may be difficult or even impossible for that lawyer to understand all intricacies of the social and political situation in the country of persecution. Lack of such understanding may severely limit the attorney’s ability to effectively represent the asylum client.
(2) The lawyer’s interest, understanding, curiosity and appreciation of your culture and ethnic, social, political or religious background – A good asylum lawyer does not have to be of the same ethnicity, political opinion, religion or national origin as the applicant. It is also not important for a lawyer to readily know or share your political and social views, religion, or culture. What is important, however, is that your asylum lawyer must be interested, curious and eager to learn more about you and every aspect of your life that may have an effect on the chances of getting asylum in the US.
(3) Individual attention and use of support staff – A good immigration lawyer must be able to utilize a professional support staff, while dedicating individual attention to each and every case. There should be no exceptions. If you did not meet your asylum case lawyer during your initial consultation, you should not hire such firm. If you will not have one single lawyer who will be fully dedicated to your case and handle your asylum case from day one to the end, your chances of favorable result are very slim. A good asylum lawyer must be personally on top of every development in your case. Your lawyer must regularly meet with you and everyone involved during every stage of the process, including the preparation of the applicant’s personal statement, drafting affidavits, witness preparations, identifying and providing supporting evidence, preparation for the interview, and most importantly the interview participation.
We at I.S Law Firm, PLLC ensure that your asylum case is diligently prepared, timely filed and well presented to the asylum office or immigration court. Our lawyers meet with each client from day one and maintain constant contact throughout the process. Our team of professionals conducts thorough research to identify and present country condition reports and experts in support of our clients’ asylum cases.
I.S. Law Firm has secured many asylum approvals from asylum offices and immigration courts all over the country. In some case, clients come to us after their affirmative asylum cases have been mishandled or denied. In such cases, we spend time to identify and address every issue which may have caused the denial and reorganize the file for the immigration court. By doing so, we have helped numerous applicants in the past to successfully obtain their asylum grants through immigration courts, even after their cases have been referred to courts by the asylum officers.
Thoroughly preparing for your asylum interview is equally important as preparing and filing your asylum application. We spend one-on-one time with each asylum client to prepare for their asylum interviews and our asylum lawyer attends each interview in person. Over the many years of asylum practice, we built up a good reputation and rapport with immigration offices, immigration courts and government agencies. We are closely familiar with the political atmosphere and human rights conditions in the countries from which our clients seek refuge. Therefore, we have high asylum approval rates.
To see if you qualify for asylum, please contact us to schedule a consultation.