What are the most recent changes in the asylum application process?

1.  It has become more difficult, but a well-prepared case with the correct legal argument CAN still be granted.

2.  It is impossible to prepare an asylum case without an experienced immigration lawyer. Currently, it is necessary to establish a complicated set of factors to ensure that current legal arguments are met.  This requires an analysis of legal theory.  If the claim rests on gender, or other sub-groups, a legal analysis of that particular group is a requirement.

3.  What has changed? NOTHING AND EVERYTHING.

The law remains the same. - Precedents established by federal courts prevail over any policy memorandum issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

The policy memorandum - advising asylum officers how to interpret cases -  is completely different.

The latest policy memorandum argues that asylum applicants must show their government is helpless to protect them.

It also attempts to narrow and limit claims for domestic violence and gang violence. It makes it supremely difficult for persons arriving at the border and requesting asylum to obtain a favorable credible fear interview result.

4.  Are claims based on domestic violence and gang violence still viable?  YES.

5.  RECOMMENDATIONS:

     a)  never file for asylum without the assistance of an attorney experienced and trained in current asylum law;

     b)  for those persons who will be planning on applying for asylum by seeking entry lawfully at a Port of Entry along the U.S. - Mexico border:  it is imperative to arrive with a pre-prepared asylum application which has been prepared in advance by an attorney.

     c)  place of residence does matter. Credible fear interviews are in part the result of the law of the state where one is detained. Likewise, the outcome of an affirmative asylum interview can depend on the state in which one applies. Speak with an attorney knowledgeable about these facts prior to filing.

      d)  do NOT attempt to file in a city in which you do not reside!!  Honesty and truthfulness are paramount to a positive result.  Do not begin your application with a lie about where you live.