You may be wondering, what happens if the asylum officer denies my case?
Someone who applies for asylum may not appeal a decision of the asylum officer. The law does not provide for a direct appeal of a denied asylum claim. If the asylum officer made an error or failed to consider certain evidence, you may file a motion to reconsider or reopen. These motions are rarely granted and should only be filed when the officer has made a serious mistake in your case. The motion to reconsider or reopen is filed with the asylum office that handled your interview. In essence, you are asking that office to reverse the decision of the individual asylum officer who originally handled your case. As you may understand, the asylum office is usually very reluctant to reverse one of its own officers.
So if I can’t appeal, what happens next?
If USCIS denies the case and the applicant has no other legal basis to be in the United States, the asylum officer is required to refer the case to an immigration judge for adjudication of the claim in removal proceedings. The asylum officer is also required to issue a referral notice to the immigration judge which includes a list of the reasons for the referral. The officer also issues a notice to appear to the asylum applicant which begins the deportation process. You are allowed to raise asylum as a defense to deportation and have the immigration judge conduct their own assessment of the claim. However, unlike the asylum interview which is supposed to be non-adversarial, in immigration court, there will be a government attorney whose job it is to challenge your asylum claim, poke holes in your story and try and convince the judge to deny you asylum. Being sent to deportation court makes getting asylum a whole lot harder.