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  1. What Happens When Asylum Is Granted?

    With all the bad news related to refugees and asylum seekers, I thought it might be nice to discuss something positive: What happens when an asylum case is granted?


    One of my clients celebrates her asylum grant.


    The fact is, despite the best efforts of the Trump Administration, people are still winning their cases. They are winning affirmatively at the Asylum Offices, and defensively in the Immigration Courts. There are some differences between an affirmative and a defensive grant, and we’ll talk about those first.

    If an applicant wins at the Asylum Office, she receives a letter indicting that asylum was granted. The date on the letter and the date of the asylum grant are usually not the same. To find the date that asylum was granted, look in the body of the letter on the first page. It will indicate that “asylum was granted on” a certain date. This is the date that matters for purposes of applying for a green card and obtaining certain government benefits.

    If asylum is granted in Court, the Immigration Judge will issue an order stating that asylum is granted. If the DHS attorney appeals, the case is not over, and will have to be adjudicated by the Board of Immigration Appeals. But if DHS does not appeal (or if the BIA has already indicated that asylum must be granted), then the case is over and the applicant has asylum. There is one more step that the applicant must take in order to complete the process. The person must bring his approval order and photo ID to USCIS, which will issue an I-94 indicating that the person has asylum, and will also create a new Employment Authorization Document ("EAD"). You can learn about that process here (check the link called post-order instructions).

    As soon as asylum is granted, you are eligible to work in the United States, even if you do not have an EAD (see Working in the United States). You can also get an unrestricted Social Security number by contacting the Social Security office.

    A person who wins asylum can file an I-730 petition for her spouse and children. To qualify for an I-730, the marriage must have existed prior to the date that asylum was granted. For a child to benefit from an I-730, the child must have been under 21 and unmarried at the time the asylum application was filed. If the child turned 21 before the asylum case was granted, he is still eligible to benefit from the I-730. However, if the child married after the case was filed, he is not eligible to bring his own spouse and children to the U.S. through the I-730 process.

    One year after asylum is granted, the alien may file for her lawful permanent residency ("LPR") (her green card) using form I-485. We used to advise people that they could file for the green card 30 days prior to their one-year asylum anniversary, and this used to work. But then we filed a green card application early, and USCIS rejected it. Since then, we have advised our clients to wait one full year before filing for their residency. Principal asylum applicants do not generally receive a green card interview, but dependents usually do. When you receive the LPR card, it will be back-dated by one year (so if you get the card on May 21, 2018, it will indicate that you have been an LPR since May 21, 2017). You can apply for U.S. citizenship based on the earlier date listed on the card.

    A person who wins asylum can obtain a Refugee Travel Document using form I-131. This document is valid for one year and is used in lieu of a passport, but there are some limitations. For example, returning to the country of feared persecution can result in termination of asylum status or lawful permanent residency (I wrote about this here). Also, not every country will accept the RTD as a travel document, so you have to check with the country's embassy in advance.

    People granted asylum may also be eligible for certain government benefits, including referrals for short-term cash and medical assistance, job development, trauma counseling, and English as a Foreign Language services. The Office of Refugee Resettlement has a state-by-state collection of agencies that can help with these and other services (once you identify agencies near you, you have to contact them directly). For those granted asylum affirmatively, the Asylum Office sometimes holds meetings to explain the benefits available to asylum seekers. You would have to ask your local Asylum Office about that. Be aware that after the case is granted, you have a very limited time to access most services, and so the sooner you reach out to provider organizations, the better.

    Asylees are eligible to attend university (asylum applicants who have an EAD are also eligible to attend most universities). In many cases, universities offer in-state tuition to people with asylum. There may also be scholarships available. You would have to reach out directly to the university to learn more about tuition discounts and scholarship money.

    Asylees also have certain legal obligations. If you are a male asylee (or a dependent) between the ages of 18 and 26, you must register for Selective Service. LPRs and citizens are also required to register. Also, like everyone else, asylees have to pay taxes and follow the law.

    Finally, asylees and LPRs must inform USCIS whenever they move to a new address. You are required to do this within 10 days of the move. You can notify USCIS of your new address by mailing them form AR-11 or filing it electronically. Either way, keep evidence that you filed the change of address form.

    Especially these days, I view every asylum win not only as a victory for the individual, but also as a victory for our country. Whether our leadership understands it or not, our nation is defined in large part by how we treat those coming to us for refuge. So if you have been granted asylum in the U.S., thank you for still believing in the American Dream--it helps the rest of us keep believing as well. And of course, Welcome to the USA!

    Originally posted on the Asylumist: www.Asylumist.com.
    Tags: asylum, granted Add / Edit Tags
  2. Rally Calling for Support for the One Day To Protect New Yorkers Act

    by , 05-16-2018 at 08:47 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    On May 22nd, the Immigrant Defense Project, Fortune Society, and over 100 advocates and elected officials, are heading to Albany to hold a rally calling on the legislature to support the One Day To Protect New Yorkers Act – a bill that would reduce the maximum sentence for a Class A Misdemeanor by just one day, from 365 to 364.

    This small change would give federal immigration judges the authority to exercise discretion in more deportation cases and would protect thousands of New Yorkers facing harsh immigration consequences stemming from a misdemeanor offense.

    Please help us spread the word about the rally, and raise awareness of the bill, which could save many vulnerable individuals from being permanently separated from their families and communities. Here's the social media toolkit with sample messaging and graphics to share with your networks.

  3. TWO MAJOR CHANGES FOR F-1 STUDENTS

    by , 05-16-2018 at 08:32 AM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)

    by Maria Schneider


    USCIS has recently issued two updates that impact F-1 students.

    Unlawful Presence

    On May 11, 2018, the USCIS issued a policy memorandum that changed the rules regarding unlawful presence for F-1 students. Unlawful presence begins to accrue once a foreign national has stayed beyond the end date on his/her I-94 card. Because F-1 I-94 cards do not have an end date, but show D/S (duration of status) as the term of stay, unlawful presence did not apply to F-1s.

    As of August 8, 2018, individuals in F, J, and M status who fail to maintain their status will start accruing unlawful presence on or after the date of one of the following events:


    • The day after DHS denies the student’s request for an immigration benefit with a formal finding that the student violated status while adjudicating the benefit request;
    • The day after the student’s I-94 expires;
    • The day after an immigration judge or in certain cases, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), orders the student excluded, deported, or removed;
    • The day after the student no longer pursues a course of study or authorized activity, or the day after the student engages in unauthorized activity (e.g. unauthorized employment); or
    • The day after the student completes his/her course of study or program, including any authorized CPT or OPT plus any authorized grace period.


    Individuals who have accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence are generally subject to a 3 year bar of re-entry to the US. Individuals who accrue more than 365 days of unlawful presence are generally subject to a 10 year bar of re-entry to the US.


    STEM OPT

    In April 2018, USCIS updated its website regarding STEM OPT extensions to indicate students are not permitted to engage in STEM OPT at third party worksite locations. No formal policy memo or update was announced regarding this change.

    The 2016 STEM OPT Rule requires only that the student be a bona fide employee of the employer signing the I-983 training plan. The I-983 does require that the student “receive on-site supervision and training” but does not specify if the employer must provide this supervision.

    This issue has been raised with DHS and members of Congress through industry groups and the American Immigration Lawyers Association and is currently under review.

    _____________
    Please read the Musillo Unkenholt Healthcare and Immigration Law Blog at www.musillo.com and www.ilw.com. You can also visit us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinknedIn.
  4. Trump Administration Preparing to Take Refugee Children from their Mothers

    by , 05-16-2018 at 08:15 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Reminiscent of the Obama administration's strategy of jailing refugee mothers with children fleeing violence in deportation internment camps to "send a message," the Trump administration has decided to up the ante. The Washington Post reports that the Trump administration intends to rip immigrant children from the arms of their mothers when they arrive at our borders and detain them on military bases. It should be noted that both policies are merely varying degrees of horrific.

    From The Washington Post:

    According to an email notification sent to Pentagon staffers, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will make site visits at four military installations in Texas and Arkansas during the next two weeks to evaluate their suitability to shelter children.

    The bases would be used for minors under 18 who arrive at the border without an adult relative or after the government has separated them from their parents. HHS is the government agency responsible for providing minors with foster care until another adult relative can assume custody.


    Click here for more.

    Updated 05-16-2018 at 08:36 AM by MKolken

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