The Department of Justice (DOJ) has just announced changes to how they handle asylum claims. For some, it will mean good news. For others, bad news.
There is a massive delay in processing asylum applications, leading to many asylum seekers being stuck in limbo for a long time. The current wait is two years, with over a million outstanding cases still to be dealt with.
Until now, only immigration judges could decide asylum claims. The rule change will pass the decision-making o asylum officers at the border. That could mean one of two things:
- You gain asylum quicker
- You are rejected and thrown out of the country quicker
U.S. border authorities do not have the most welcoming, open-minded reputation, so, understandably, many seeking asylum may take a pessimistic attitude to the rule change.
What if the asylum officer turns down my application?
Fortunately, they will not have the final say when rejecting applications. You still get the chance to fight your case in front of an immigration judge. Yet the wording of the DOJ notice is not encouraging, “The rule establishes streamlined procedures for these removal proceedings, designed to promote efficient resolution of the case.”
“Streamlined” and “efficient” are not words you want to hear from an authority looking to kick you out.
Does the new rule also apply to children?
Unaccompanied minors are excluded from the changes.
So what should I do if seeking asylum?
The speed with which removal proceedings could happen if your application is rejected makes it more crucial than ever that you get experienced legal assistance to help you with your asylum application.