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USCIS Updates

If you are in need of immediate legal assistance, call the New Americans hotline: 1-800-566-7636

Rule Dubbed Death to Asylum

Goes into effect on January 10, 2021

  • Makes it harder to pass the credible fear screening:

    • Raises the standard of proof

    • Additional bars are considered during this process

  • Individuals who pass the CFI would only be able to apply for asylum-and-withholding proceedings (ie. cannot apply for SIJS, etc).

  • Allows immigration judges to deny asylum without a hearing if they determine that the applicant failed to establish a prima facie claim.

  • Narrows the definition of key elements required to obtain asylum, thereby narrowing the pool of individuals who would qualify for asylum. These are particularly targeted to claims usually made by individuals from Central America. 

  • Bars from asylum individuals who traveled through more than one country to get to the U.S.

  • Restricts eligibility for protection for survivors of torture seeking relief under the Convention against Torture. 

Read more here

Rule on 15-day filing deadline

Goes into effect on January 15, 2021

  • Established an initial 15-day filing deadline for submission.  Countdown starts on the day of the first hearing before the asylum seekers must go before an immigration judge.

    • Can extend for good cause shown.

    • If do not file by deadline, then opportunity to file will be deemed waived.

    • If an applicant does not file an application appropriately by the deadline set by the immigration judge, the immigration judge shall deem the opportunity to file such an application waived.

  • Additional requirements to deem an asylum application appropriately filed.

    • Must be filled out exactly as indicated in the instructions, (ie. cannot leave any blank spaces, and other technicalities)

    • Application is no longer deemed complete if immigration court fails to return the application within 30 days.

  • The rule dictates the type of evidence immigration judges are allowed to consider.

  • The rule allows immigration judges to submit evidence into the record.

  • The immigration judge must finalize an asylum claim within 180.  This time can only be extended if the applicant shows exceptional circumstances, a higher standard than the one currently used to continue a case.

Read more here

Transit Ban Rule

Goes into effect on January 16, 2021

  • Adds a new mandatory bar to asylum for anyone who enters or attempts to enter the United States across the southern land border after transition through at least one country from which the asylum seekers is not a national (ie. Bars all but Mexican asylum seekers).

  • Exceptions include:

    • Individuals seeking protection who show they applied for protection in at least one country through which they transited.

    • Individuals who meet the definition of victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons.

    • If transited through countries that were not parties to the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees.

  • Individuals could still qualify for withholding or protection under the Convention against Torture.

Read more here

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