Many individuals who have filed affirmative asylum applications have been waiting for months or years to get scheduled for their asylum interview or to get a decision issued in their case, often while separated from their families.
In a past article (Expediting Your Asylum Application If Already in the Backlog), we advised that if you have an urgent need to be interviewed or obtain a decision on your case, you may submit an expedited request to the Asylum Office, explaining your need for an expedited process. Expedited process requests may be granted in the following circumstances: severe financial loss, an emergency situation, or a humanitarian reason. You must provide evidence showing there is an urgency. There is no downside to seeking to expedite your asylum case, but you will not be successful unless you meet the above criteria.
How Can I Get My Asylum Case Scheduled for an Interview if I Don’t Qualify for the Expedited Process?
You may submit a request to the asylum office to be placed on the, “short list”. This process would allow you to be scheduled for an asylum interview in place of another applicant who has requested a cancellation or rescheduling of his/her interview. It requires you to be ready and available to attend your asylum interview with very little notice, but you would not be penalized for declining to accept the available interview appointment. In such instance, your name will remain on the, “short list” and you will be contacted once another interview appointment becomes available. It is important to note that this process does not guarantee an earlier asylum interview appointment, as the wait time depends on the number of applicants enlisted ahead of you, future cancellations and rescheduling interview appointment requests by said applicants.
How Can I Get My Asylum Case Scheduled for an Interview or Get a Decision Issued in My Case if I am Tired of Waiting?
If the delay in your interview scheduling or issuing a decision in your case is unreasonable and you are tired of waiting, it may be appropriate to file a Petition for a Writ of Mandamus in Federal Court. Under the Mandamus Act, the court may force a government agency to do its job within a reasonable amount of time. In this case, you are requesting that the court force the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to act by scheduling your asylum interview or issuing a decision in your case.
Asylum offices frequently settle mandamus cases by simply agreeing to schedule the interview at a date certain or issue a decision in order to avoid fighting your lawsuit. Sometimes, however, they oppose the mandamus lawsuit by filing a motion to dismiss, arguing that your case has not been unreasonably delayed and asking the judge to dismiss your lawsuit. It is therefore important to consult an immigration attorney to determine if filing a Petition for a Writ of Mandamus is proper, and whether you would be successful in forcing USCIS to schedule your asylum interview or issue a decision in your case.
Let our experienced immigration attorneys examine your circumstances to determine whether you should proceed with filing a Petition for a Writ of Mandamus, and if so, assist you with filing it. Feel free to contact our immigration attorneys at the Law Offices of Azita M. Mojarad, P.C. with any questions or for additional information.