Dzubow & Pilcher, PLLC

The Asylumist is a blog about political asylum in the United States. We hope it will serve as a forum for discussion about the law, policy, and politics of asylum. We hope to hear from different people involved in the asylum process: asylum seekers, lawyers and advocates, academics, policy-types, health professionals, and activists. We hope this website contributes to a better understanding of the asylum system in the United States.

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A recent paper by Neil Graffin, a Lecturer in International Law at the Open University, explores the emotional impact of working as an asylum lawyer. As you might expect, the study found that those of us who represent asylum seekers suffer from burnout and emotional stress. As a “protective mechanism,” we tend to detach ourselves from our clients, and we sometimes become “cynical or disbelieving of client narratives.” More surprising, perhaps, the author found…
In my house, we have young children who love books. We have to read to them all the time (at breakfast, at dinner, before bed – oy, it makes me crazy). Below are some books we’ve read that relate to my profession: Asylum and immigration. I’ve also included a few books that have crossed my desk for older kids or teens. Of course, these subjects can be pretty heavy. How do you talk to young children about fleeing…
This posting is by Elizabeth Rosenman, a Seattle asylum attorney and a member of Northwest Immigrant Rights Project’s pro bono panel. A former editor of UCLA’s law review, she has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. Among other publications, she has written for The Seattle Times, the Los Angeles Times, and most recently, The Hill.  When I’m helping a client prepare his I-589, the first thing I do is download the 10-page application, officially called…
Last week, I wrote about my suggestions for a new Asylum Office website. In that post, I gave short shrift to a new development: For affirmative asylum applicants, it is now possible to check your asylum case online at the USCIS website. This development is actually pretty significant, and will be particularly helpful for those who set up an account with USCIS in order to receive automatic case updates. Here’s how it works:…
Dear Asylum Division: These days, I don’t like to criticize you. I know that you’re under a lot of pressure from the political higher-ups who hate the whole “asylum thing.” But let’s face it–your website stinks. Fortunately, help is at hand. I’ve taken the liberty of creating a new website, which will benefit not only beleaguered asylum seekers, but also the hardworking folks at the various Asylum Offices. And yes, I know that the Asylum Division is…
As you may have heard, parts of the federal government are closed for business. After two years of Republican inaction on “the wall,” somehow President Trump has decided that now is the time to shut the government down in an effort to “permanently fix the problem on the Southern Border.” Let’s look at the effect of the shutdown on immigration generally, and on asylum more particularly. In immigration world, the biggest–and most ironic–effect of the shutdown has…
According to recent reports, the Trump Administration is considering charging $50.00 to apply for asylum in the United States. If the purpose of this fee is to dissuade people from seeking asylum, it is a stupid and cruel idea, which may violate our treaty obligations. If the purpose is to raise money to help cover the costs of the asylum process, it is merely a stupid idea. Here is what we know so far. The Trump Administration…
The indefatigable folks at TRAC Immigration have issued a new report about our nation’s Immigration Courts, and the news is not encouraging: Overall asylum denial rates are the highest we’ve seen in almost two decades. As always with asylum numbers, things are not quite so simple, so let’s take a look at what’s going on. Fiscal Year 2018 (which ended on September 30, 2018) was noteworthy for several reasons. First, the asylum denial rate reached 65%. This…
A recent article in the Washington Post discusses the case of Santos Chirino, a Honduran man who sought asylum in the United States after gang members threatened him for testifying against one of their own. Immigration Judge Thomas Snow found that Mr. Chirino did not qualify for asylum or other relief, and ordered him deported. Eight months after he returned home, Mr. Chirino was shot dead at a soccer match. Mr. Chirino’s is a sad and…
It’s the season of miracles. One day’s worth of oil burns for eight days. A child is born to a virgin mother. The Eagles will return to the Super Bowl. OK, that last one is probably a bridge too far, but I know miracles happen because the asylum backlog is shrinking. Yes, shrinking. As usual in asylum world, the news is not quite so straightforward, but let’s look at the newest data from the Asylum…