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Asylum-seekers have been waiting years for an interview because of a Trump-era processing system



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Erez, a Kurdish asylum-seeker from Turkey, utilized in 2016 and has been ready for an interview ever since. Erez was a university scholar on the time, and police had been attacking Kurdish college students. Erez fled Turkey and got here to the U.S. to seek out security. Erez mentioned he has needed to reapply for a piece allow each two years however has but to obtain his most up-to-date work authorization card due to the backlog. On March 29, Biden announced actions to deal with the work allow backlog and immigration purposes, however the measures don’t apply on to processing affirmative asylum circumstances.

“There’s uncertainty,” Erez mentioned. “I’m undecided when they are going to tackle my software; in spite of everything this time, I’m simply ready.”

Andrea Barron, the advocacy program supervisor for Torture Abolition and Survivors Help Coalition, mentioned asylum-seekers and torture survivors are struggling essentially the most from LIFO. Many candidates are separated from members of the family who’re nonetheless of their residence nations. In accordance with Barron, candidates report that their kids expertise ongoing violence and are punished for his or her dad and mom being often known as dissidents. One applicant was a mom with a 14-year-old daughter in Ethiopia. Her daughter was raped as punishment for her mom being a identified dissident. In accordance with Barron, had her mom gotten an interview, she might have introduced her daughter to the U.S. and prevented the assault.

“Torture survivors have skilled vital trauma and are left in limbo, typically separated from their households, and this exacerbates the trauma,” Barron mentioned. “These tragic outcomes might have been averted had their purposes been processed promptly.”

Barron has been advocating for a concrete resolution to the issue. She means that USCIS rent asylum officers designated to deal with asylum purposes that had been filed 5 or extra years in the past. Whereas USCIS says they’ve elevated the variety of approved asylum officers from 273 in 2013 to 771 in 2019, Barron mentioned this enhance has had hardly any impact on rising the variety of interviews for torture survivors and different asylum-seekers ready greater than 5 years for an interview.

“The massive query is, how are you going to make use of these asylum officers?” Barron mentioned. “Are any of them going to have the ability to interview the people who find themselves ready 5 years for his or her interview?

Barron suggests a portion of asylum officers ought to work again to entrance. Her suggestion was supported by Rep. Jerry Nadler and 39 different members of Congress, together with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in a letter they sent to Homeland Safety Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and USCIS Director Ur Jaddou on Sept. 9, 2021.

“USCIS needs to make it seem like they’re making an attempt to unravel the issue,” Barron mentioned. “It is not going to clear up the issue, the issue will likely be solved solely when there’s a designated variety of asylum officers to work on these long-term circumstances.”

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