The USCIS releases final rule about interpreters for Asylum Seekers
The US is the destination of thousands of immigrants fleeing the danger of their countries and seeking international protection through programs such as political asylum or refuge.
To give an overview, immigrants can request political asylum when they try to flee from persecution, either because of their race, religion, political opinion, sexual orientation, inter alia. Adding to that, they can also apply for asylum if they prove that they have been victims of abuse (psychological or physical) or domestic violence.
Asylum seekers must fill out a form for the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review it. Then, they must attend a hearing, where it will be decided whether they meet the mandatory requirements to obtain political asylum and reside in the US under this premise.
Clearly, immigrants do not always speak English fluently. Therefore, normally, they must hire their own interpreters to attend the hearing. Otherwise, the process could not be carried out unless the applicant speaks English.
However, due to the health crisis caused by the Coronavirus, political asylum hearings are substantially behind schedule and applicants do not have the possibility to hire an interpreter for their cases.
Thus, on September 23, 2020, the USCIS released a final rule called “Asylum Interview Interpreter Requirement Modification Due to COVID-19”, which states that the federal entity will hire outside interpreters to attend political asylum hearings and, in this way, accelerate pending processes.
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How will the process work with the USCIS interpreters?
This final rule is effective as of September 23 and will be valid for a total of 180 days. It means that, as of March 23, 2021, asylum seekers will have to hire their own interpreters for the hearings again.
It is important to note the following:
- The USCIS interpreters will not represent any extra cost for asylum seekers.
- Hearings will be by telephone.
- The USCIS will have interpreters available for 47 languages.
- If applicants do not speak any of the available languages, then they must bring their own interpreter.
- The USCIS interpreters must go through a thorough background check before assisting asylum seekers.
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Don’t miss the chance to present a strong immigration case and avoid potential rejection by the USCIS. This recommendation applies to any immigration case, be it family, business, student, deportation, appeal, inter alia.
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