USCIS (US Citizenship & Immigration Services) announced today that it will no longer schedule asylum interviews for cases in the order that they were received.

Today USCIS will start a “Last In First Out” policy which means that the newest applications will be processed first and older cases will remain in a backlog.

USCIS will now prioritize asylum interviews in the following order:

  1. Applications that were scheduled for an interview, but the interview was rescheduled at the applicant’s request or by USCIS;

  2. Applications pending 21 days or less since filing; and

  3. All other pending applications, starting with applications filed most recently and working back toward applications filed earlier.

What does this mean for asylum seekers in Maine?

  • Someone who files an affirmative asylum application today, or filed one within the last three weeks, will quickly be scheduled for an interview at the Boston Asylum Office.

  • Someone whose asylum application was pending for more than 3 weeks as of January 31, 2018 will continue to wait and will be scheduled for an interview only after all NEW applications have been processed. We do not know how long this will be.

  • This policy does not impact asylum cases in Immigration Court.