During the shutdown, we wrote about how it affected immigration courts. Some cases went forward, but most didn’t and were rescheduled for some date in 2021 or 2022. Because of the stakes that ride on these hearings for petitioners, they had to show up for court to be sure that they weren’t on the docket, even if it meant driving hours to find out.
This week, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a significant change for those seeking affirmative asylum. They no longer have to visit, call or email to check on their case status and can now do so online. Those seeking asylum through the New Orleans office or elsewhere in the U.S. can go to online to uscis.gov to check on their progress. Applicants will need the receipt number assigned to their case to check its status. The case status system has been used by USCIS for several years for other types of immigration cases, but this is the first time asylum cases will be added to the system.
According to USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna, “The new capability increases transparency and assures applicants that they have the most up-to-date and accurate information about their case, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We strive to adjudicate all applications and petitions in a timely manner and are working to reduce the impact on processing times by aligning resources appropriately.”