Interview Scheduling at the Chicago Asylum Office
Based on NIJC's experience and reports from pro bono attorneys, it appears that the Chicago Asylum Office is currently scheduling interviews for adult applicants who filed as recently as August-September 2015. Attorneys representing unaccompanied immigrant children have been receiving interview notices as soon as four months after the asylum application was filed. To learn the interview scheduling timeline for the Chicago Asylum Office, NIJC pro bono attorneys can always email their NIJC point-of-contact or check the USCIS Asylum Office Scheduling Bulletin (for adult applicants) here. Please be aware, however, that the scheduling bulletin is often not up-to-date.
Please note that asylum office interview notices are only mailed out approximately two weeks prior to the interview date and that all supporting documentation should be received by the Chicago Asylum Office on the Thursday of the week before the interview. This means that by the time the attorney receives the interview notice, she will only have about one week to finalize all supporting documents.
NIJC strongly encourages all attorneys with affirmative asylum clients who filed for asylum at any point in 2015 to finalize their supporting documents now. NIJC generally discourages attorneys from seeking to reschedule an asylum interview because current delays mean that the rescheduled interview may not occur for many months, or in some cases, years.
A check-list of the documents that should be submitted in support of an affirmative (asylum office) asylum application can be found in NIJC’s asylum manual, located here.
Scheduling at the Chicago Immigration Court
As a result of the January 2017 immigration executive orders, the Department of Justice has continued to prioritize detained cases at the expense of all other immigration court cases, resulting in significant scheduling changes at the Chicago Immigration Court. In addition, Judge Perez Guzman recently left the Chicago Immigration Court and does not yet have a replacement. For these reasons, many attorneys with merits hearings in 2017-2018 may be rescheduled, often with little warning to the attorney or client. Attorneys can always check on the status of their merits hearing by calling the court's automated information line at 1-800-898-7180.