Interview Scheduling at the Chicago Asylum Office
In recent months, interview scheduling at the Chicago Asylum Office has slightly sped up. At present, the Chicago Asylum Office is scheduling interviews for unaccompanied immigrant children approximately five months after their asylum application is filed. For adult applicants, the Chicago Asylum Office is currently scheduling interviews for applicants who filed between April and August of 2014. NIJC has personally received a number of interview notices for adults who filed in late summer of 2014. To learn the interview scheduling timeline for the Chicago Asylum Office, NIJC pro bono attorneys can always email their NIJC point-of-contact or check the USCIS Asylum Office Scheduling Bulletin (for adult applicants) here.
Please note that asylum office interview notices are only mailed out approximately two weeks prior to the interview date and that all supporting documentation should be received by the Chicago Asylum Office on the Thursday of the week before the interview. This means that by the time the attorney receives the interview notice, she will only have about one week to finalize all supporting documents.
NIJC strongly encourages all attorneys with affirmative asylum clients who filed for asylum at any point in 2014 to finalize their supporting documents now. NIJC generally discourages attorneys from seeking to reschedule an asylum interview because current delays mean that the rescheduled interview may not occur for many months, or in some cases, years.
A check-list of the documents that should be submitted in support of an affirmative (asylum office) asylum application can be found in NIJC’s asylum manual, located here.
Scheduling at the Chicago Immigration Court
As a result of the January 2017 immigration executive orders, the Department of Justice has prioritized detained cases at the expense of all other immigration court cases, resulting in significant scheduling changes at the Chicago Immigration Court. All judges are now expected to hear detained cases on a rotating basis and detained cases are expected to be scheduled more quickly for merits hearings. In addition, Judge Vinikoor, who primarily handled a non-detained docket, is expected to retire at the beginning of June. The following is a summary of how cases are expected to be handled for the coming months:
- Judge Peyton, who usually handles a non-detained docket, is hearing detained cases for the month of May. All of her May, non-detained hearings have been rescheduled.
- Judge Vinikoor is expected to retire in June and Judge Fujimoto will temporarily take over his docket for June. It is not expected that any of Judge Vinikoor’s hearings will be rescheduled in June. A new judge is expected to take over Judge Vinikoor’s docket full time, beginning in July.
- Judge Perez Guzman and Judge DeAngelis will hear detained cases for the month of June. Judge Perez Guzman’s June, non-detained hearings will be rescheduled. Judge DeAngelis’s June hearings will be heard by Judge Cole, who usually handles a detained docket. Judge DeAngelis’s June hearings are not expected to be rescheduled.
More rescheduling is expected in the coming months. NIJC will announce scheduling updates here as new information becomes available.