Please review NIJC’s 2/2/18 Asylum Office Schedule Procedures Notice for background on current scheduling procedures at the Chicago Asylum Office.
Based on recent conversations with the Chicago Asylum Office, NIJC has learned that currently, the Chicago Asylum Office is prioritizing credible and reasonable fear interviews (initial asylum screenings mainly for individuals apprehended at or near the border or a port-of-entry); asylum applicants who filed for asylum after January 2018 (under the last-in-first-out system); and individuals who previously were scheduled for an interview, requested that it be rescheduled, and are ineligible for employment authorization as a result. The next prioritized group includes individuals who were interviewed, but for whom a decision has not yet been issued.
Significantly, the Chicago Asylum Office stated that they are not currently in a position to interview individuals who filed for asylum before January 2018 and have not yet received any guidance regarding when and in what order the office should interview these individuals. Please see NIJC’s prior scheduling notice here for a list of practice tips for attorneys representing asylum applicants with long-pending cases before the Chicago Asylum Office.
NIJC pro bono attorneys should also be aware that delays in the issuance of asylum decisions post-interview continue to be common. Many of NIJC's clients have been waiting 6-12 months or longer to receive a decision post-interview. Based on the cases involved, NIJC does not believe these delays are generally related to the underlying claim. If you are representing an NIJC asylum client who has been waiting more than three months for an interview, NIJC recommends the following steps:
- Follow-up: Submit a fax (312-849-5201) or email (Chicago.Asylum@uscis.dhs.gov) inquiry to the Chicago Asylum Office every 90 days, requesting a status update.
- Consider escalating your inquiry: If you feel there are compelling reasons that warrant an expedited decision or you would like to try to push the issuance of a decision by escalating your inquiry, please contact your NIJC point-of-contact.
- Consider supplementing: A client’s case file can be supplemented at any point prior to the issuance of an asylum office decision. If you feel that new, critical information has arisen related to your client’s claim, you can file this documentation (two copies are required) directly with the Chicago Asylum Office. NIJC encourages attorneys to be judicious in determining how much supplemental material to submit to the asylum office.