Asylum News: USCIS To Require Interpreters for Affirmative Asylum Applicant Interviews starting September 13th

 “If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.”

Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 United Airlines Captain Jason Dahl

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In this post, we would like to share with our readers that starting September 13th the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will require affirmative asylum applicants to bring interpreters to asylum interviews, if they are not fluent in the English language, or would like to have their interview conducted in a language other than English.

USCIS has said that affirmative asylum applicants who need an interpreter, but fail to bring one, or who bring an interpreter that is not fluent in English or a language they speak, in such case the immigration official may consider this a failure to appear if the applicant does not establish good cause.

Additionally, USCIS may dismiss the asylum application or refer the asylum application to an immigration judge.

Interpreter Requirements

The following requirements apply to interpreters present at USCIS interviews:

The interpreter must be fluent in English and a language you speak fluently and must be at least 18 years old. The interpreter cannot be:

  • Your attorney or accredited representative;
  • A witness testifying on your behalf;
  • A representative or employee of the government of your country of nationality (or, if you are stateless, your country of last habitual residence); or
  • An individual with a pending asylum application who has not yet been interviewed.

Telephonic Interpreters will no longer be provided at Affirmative Asylum Interviews Starting September 13th 

In their announcement, USCIS has made clear that they are discontinuing the agency’s previous policy (pursuant to a Temporary Final Rule published on 09/23/2020) which required affirmative asylum applicants to use its contracted telephonic interpreters for their asylum interviews, instead of bringing an interpreter to the interview.

USCIS has said that this policy was temporarily in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 during asylum interviews before asylum officers while the COVID-19 national emergency and public health emergency were in effect. The policy was extended during the COVID-19 public health emergency until September 12, 2023. Thereafter, the policy will not be renewed, and USCIS will revert back to its long-standing regulatory requirement for an affirmative asylum applicant to provide an interpreter under 8 CFR 208.9(g) starting September 13th.

For more information about this change, please click here.

Contact us. If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text 619-483-4549 or call 619-819-9204.

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