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AILA Doc. No. 23061300 | Dated June 14, 2023
Washington, DC — Today, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) released a first-of-its-kind report on asylum timelines, High-Stakes Asylum: How Long an Asylum Case Takes and How We Can Do Better. The report is based on a survey of over 300 asylum attorneys about how much time it takes to prepare an asylum application, and what complications add significant time. High-Stakes Asylum includes recommendations on how to inject efficiency into the existing asylum process and ensure the integrity of a system that has life and death consequences. High-Stakes Asylum includes the anatomy of an asylum case from start to finish and finds that even a relatively straightforward asylum case takes 50 to 75 hours of preparation. The complexity and time needed for preparing an asylum case has significant implications for how asylum seekers are processed today. The use of expedited removal and accelerated timelines is on a collision course with offering a meaningful opportunity to access legal counsel in these life-or-death adjudications.
AILA President Jeremy McKinney noted, “For people fleeing violence and persecution, nothing is more important than finding safety and lasting protection through asylum. Until now, no resource has lifted the veil and revealed the inner workings of an asylum case. Attorneys are doing their best to ensure fairness and justice in a harrowing and time-consuming process that is guaranteed to dredge up trauma, a process often unnecessarily made far more difficult when a client is detained. This report brings together the experiences of more than 300 asylum law practitioners and their clients and offers recommendations that would go a long way toward ensuring the integrity of a system that is inefficient and often unjust.”
AILA Executive Director Benjamin Johnson stated, “The political pressures to shorten and truncate the asylum process right now are enormous. There is intense interest in speeding up decisions, but a huge gap in recognition that there are key steps in an asylum case that can’t be thrown out. The solutions in this report, determined through careful review of the real-life experiences of attorneys, would make the system fairer and faster. Policymakers must not make decisions about the laws and policies that affect the most vulnerable in a vacuum, absent the realities shared by on-the-ground practitioners. I urge policymakers to use these insights and implement these changes.”
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 23061300.
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