The immigration crisis the United States has experienced since President Donald Trump took office in 2017 has been particularly difficult for foreigners seeking asylum. According to a recent investigative report published by the San Diego Union-Tribune, there will be 80,000 asylum seekers turned back at the border and stranded in Mexico by the end of 2019. The asylum process has been deeply complicated by the contradictory and often ridiculous policies coming from the White House and trickling their way down to Homeland Security and other agencies.
As of October 2019, migrants arriving at land borders and other points of entry in the U.S. are still allowed to declare themselves asylum seekers. What happens next is subject to determinations made on the spot by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Many of those who are caught in illegal crossing situations along the southern border are rounded up and turned over to Mexican authorities without processing. Others are allowed to make their asylum claims, but what happens next isn’t always clear.
The collection of biometric information and personal data at ports of entry doesn’t always signal an asylum claim has been accepted. In some illegal entry cases, the data is collected before migrants are taken to detention centers, where they’ll await court hearings and removal. If interviewers from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determine migrants—particularly those who have already applied for asylum in other countries—have a credible fear of being returned to their countries of origin, asylum receipt numbers will be issued.
Regardless of where migrants are sent to await disposition of their cases, their statuses can be checked with the online USCIS Case Status Search tool, which is the same tool used to check on other immigration applications, such as work permits and green cards. The only data needed to conduct an asylum status check is the receipt number, which starts with the letter Z and is followed by two additional letters and a string of 10 digits.
For most asylum applicants who receive receipt numbers after sitting down with USCIS interviewers, second interviews are needed, and this is what the status search tool will display. Waiting times for these interviews cannot be ascertained as of 2019. Some applicants may get an idea of waiting times if their San Diego immigration law firms are handling asylum cases with similar arrival dates.
It’s important to take immediate action when the status displays a message indicating an interview has been scheduled. If a notice hasn’t arrived by mail at a residential address, detention center, refuge, or law firm, the regional USCIS center should be contacted to get the exact date and time of the interview, which will be preceded by a biometric fingerprinting session. Missing a scheduled interview could result in a removal order. After the interview, the two messages that may be displayed by the online status search tool will refer to whether the decision is pending or picked up. It should be noted that the latter message will be displayed even if the document hasn’t actually been picked up, and it’s up to applicants and their lawyers to track down the decisions.
Southern California immigrants who are seeking asylum should reach out to a reliable San Diego immigration lawyer. If you’d like to learn more about asylum applications or other aspects of immigration, reach out to the experienced immigration lawyers at KS Visa Law. Whether you need information on work visas or family immigration services in San Diego, we can help. Call 858-874-0711 today to learn more.