A client from Iraq had filed for asylum more than two years ago and was still waiting for an asylum interview. This is typical these days, as across the country asylum offices are running huge backlogs in scheduling asylum interviews. The long wait is related to the surge in crossings of mothers and children from Central America. Unable to cope with the sheer amount of people seeking asylum, USCIS has diverted resources to handle the crisis coming out of Central America. This has led to extremely long backlogs for people waiting for their asylum interviews.
Fortunately for this client, we were able to obtain an interview by filing a lawsuit in federal district court, known as a “mandamus.” This lawsuit demands that the government act in a timely fashion. Indeed, once the lawsuit was filed we were able to quickly schedule the client’s interview.
Happily, this client has now been approved for asylum. On another positive note, a USCIS official indicated to me that the asylum interview backlog was fast diminishing. This would be great news.
However, you never know how ongoing events will impact the asylum process. A federal judge just ruled that the U.S. government cannot continue to detain Central American families. This is great news for the moms and kids who have been locked up in prison-like condition. One of the unknowns, however, is if we will now see another surge in refugees coming from Central America. If that happens, the asylum system will continue to bog down, and waits for interviews could be even longer. That is, unless the government devotes more resources to managing the crisis and beefs up its asylum system, which would be the best solution for everyone.