What to Do after Asylum Interview Failed?
Updated on 03/11/2023
Most asylum applicants can obtain the interview results within a few weeks after they attended the interview at USCIS. If the interview result you get is a Referral Notice, it means that your asylum interview has failed. Meanwhile, the USCIS will issue you a Notice to Appear (NTA) to formally refer you to the immigration court and initiate a removal/ deportation proceeding against you, and your asylum case will finally be heard and ruled by the immigration judge. The Notice to Appear will specify which immigration court to go to and the time of appearance. This is what people often call Master Hearing.
After the asylum interview failed, it does not mean that your asylum application has failed completely. In fact, the success rate of the immigration court case is higher than the immigration interview pass rate. The key to winning the case in court is to make full preparations before the court hearing. These preparations include the following:
- Retrieve files to obtain all case information
Only lawyers or clients can retrieve files. The documents retrieved include the I-589 asylum application form, applicant’s statement, all the supporting documents that had been submitted to the USCIS, and each question asked by the interview officer and the answers you answered on the day of the asylum interview.
The case information retrieved is very important. With the case information, the skilled lawyer can find the problem of the case immediately, advise you preliminarily the success rate of your case, and tell you what preparation to make next.
- Master Hearing
The first hearing is known as Master Hearing, is a procedural hearing. Its main purpose is for the judge to meet the defendant (asylum applicant), the defendant’s attorney and the plaintiff (USCIS)’s attorney, and determine the time of the next court hearing, commonly known as Merit Hearing, which can also be called Individual Hearing. Although the Master Hearing just went through a process, and the judge will not question or investigate the details of the asylum case, absence from the Master Hearing will cause serious consequences. The judge has the right to directly issue a removal order in absentia. Once the removal order is in place, the chance of obtaining a green card in the United States in the future will be very slim.
- Analyze the case, formulate defense strategy and prepare relevant evidence
After the time of the Merit Hearing is confirmed, a skilled lawyer will communicate with you in a timely manner, analyze your case, formulate a customized response strategy for you, and prepare relevant evidence and documentation. The attorney will submit all the documents to the immigration court within a reasonable time before the Merit Hearing, giving the immigration judge plenty of time to review them.
- Training before Merit Hearing
What specific questions will the judge ask at the Merit Hearing? What kind of answers does the judge prefer to hear? In this regard, the lawyer who has extensive experience is well known about it. Therefore, it is extremely important to conduct a one-to-one training with the lawyer before the Merit Hearing. During the training, the lawyer will not only make you familiar with the whole hearing process, but also determine the specific defense plan according to the difficulties and weaknesses of the case, and thus get you well prepared for the Merit Hearing.
- Attend Merit Hearing
Accompanied by a lawyer, attend the Merit Hearing at the scheduled time and place. The whole court hearing will last for several hours. Generally, the judge will rule the case in court. If you fail, a removal order will be placed against you.
In case of failure in the Merit Hearing, you can choose to file an appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeal (BIA) within 30 days. After appeal, the removal order is suspended. Although the probability of successful BIA appeal is very low, the BIA appeal process will take about 2 years. During this period, if there is new evidence or situation, you may have an opportunity to reopen the case. If the BIA appeal failed, it can be appealed to the federal court and the Supreme Court eventually. In other words, there is still a chance to win finally.
In short, if the USCIS asylum interview failed, don’t be discouraged. Find a skilled lawyer in time to advise and help you from the very beginning of the removal proceeding!