USCIS Reviewing Old Approvals

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Does USCIS go back and look at my asylum case? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. Today’s question comes from Ani. She left us a comment on a YouTube video that I did recently about asylum and green cards. And I thought I would answer her question, not just for her, but for all of you so that we’re all on the same page when it comes to this really good question. So Ani was wondering, if she applies for a green card based on marriage or some other basis, and she had an asylum case that was on file, but never decided, never adjudicated, would USCIS go back and look at that old asylum application? And I think, Ani, the answer to this question is yes, that if you have filed for asylum in the past with USCIS, even if they never decided your case, there’s a very good chance, a very strong chance that not only are they going to go back and get a copy of your asylum case, they’re also going to try to ask you questions about that.

They’re going to review it. They’re going to look for inconsistencies. They’re going to look to see whether the asylum application was frivolous, which means that it had no merit, it was never going to be a winner, and they could try to use a frivolous asylum case or a case that they claim is frivolous as a basis for denying you a green card. So in this era we live in now, everything’s fair game. So I don’t think, Ani, that they just look at it at the green card stage. I’ve had situations lately where people have applied for citizenship and USCIS has gone back to look at the asylum case. And so up until a few years ago, the Asylum Office was kept separately from regular USCIS, and we’ve seen situations where they go back to look at that I think largely because they view that asylum used to be given out way too freely, way too easily, and now they’re looking for ways to take away asylum, to deny people additional immigration benefits when those benefits were originally based on a grant of asylum.

And that’s true whether the Asylum Office granted the asylum or whether an immigration judge granted the asylum. So people who received asylum in the United States, or even people who applied for asylum in the United States can be looked at with greater scrutiny. And it’s not just asylum. If you’re applying for a green card now, or for citizenship, they’re going over your entire immigration file. They’re looking over every single piece of paper, every application you made. They’re looking for inconsistencies, they’re looking for problems, they’re looking for check boxes that you might’ve checked incorrectly, and that can be on an old student visa. It can be on an old visit visa. It can be on anything that you gave to the State Department or to USCIS or to Customs and Border Patrol.

So if you have things in your history that you’re worried about, and you’re thinking about applying for an immigration benefit, you might want to give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. And I feel liked this video, we ask that you please share it out on social for us and that you subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updates whenever we make videos just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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