Recently, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of aliens turning themselves into U.S. government authorities at the U.S. border and various ports of entry to seek asylum and refuge from persecution that they have suffered in their home countries. This has brought international attention to the plight of asylum seekers as well as to the credible fear interview process they undergo after they arrive at the U.S. border. Many are confused about the process, how long they will be detained in ICE custody, how soon they will be released from detention, and what to expect after their release on parole or bond (or both).
Dramatic Increase in Asylum Claims Made at U.S. Borders and Ports of Entry
The Asylum Division of U.S. Customs and Immigration Services reports that the agency has been overwhelmed with a surge of credible fear applications from new asylum seekers originating mostly from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Increased gang violence in these Central American countries is the catalyst of the recent arrival at the border of approximately 50,000 unaccompanied minors. Over the last five years, the Asylum Division says, credible fear claims at the border have increased from just under 5,000 to more than 36,000 claims.
We have successfully handled hundreds of credible fear interviews and been able to obtain the release of hundreds of asylum seekers, including not only those who fled Central America and Mexico, but also those who have suffered terrible persecution in countries all over the world, including Armenia, Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Iraq, and Syria (i.e. those who have been harmed due to their political opinions, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or membership in a particular social group.)
An Asylum/Detention Expert’s Advice
Attorney Nalbandian advises individuals who have fled their countries and intend to arrive at a U.S. port of entry to seek asylum in the United States to:
- Never try to sneak in across the border either in hiding or with false documentation.
- Never have false documents in your possession or provide fraudulent information at any point in time during this process to U.S. CBP or ICE officials.
- Turn yourself into border officials with your genuine name and identity information and documentation.
- State clearly to the border officials that you are seeking asylum in the U.S. and have fled your country because of persecution you have already suffered or to avoid future persecution.
What to Expect When You Turn Yourself In
You will be taken to a detention facility by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials and within a few days transferred to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility, usually but not always located near your place of detention.
- Credible Fear Interview
During the first 48-72 hours in detention, you will be told about the credible fear interview process and undergo a brief interview regarding why you escaped persecution. Once you are transferred from CBP to ICE custody, then after the 48-72 hour period, you will be allowed to contact and consult with an immigration lawyer or your loved ones. Then, approximately a couple of weeks later, you will undergo the “Credible Fear Interview” with an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official. You will be asked why you’re fleeing your native country and exactly how you traveled from your country to the U.S. border. Decisions about credible fear cases are made as expeditiously as possible. If the ICE official decides that your asylum application has a significant possibility of being granted by an immigration judge, you could be released on parole and/or bond.
- Release on Parole
Depending on your situation, the ICE agency may or may not require a payment of bond in order to grant parole. ICE has the authority to take one of three possible actions (with a few exceptions which we will be happy to discuss with you during your consultation):
- You will most probably be released on parole if you have minors traveling with you (and often minors or individuals with minors may even be paroled within a matter of days of arrival rather than weeks as is typically the case), or
- You will be detained, but your children will be released in the custody of a relative, or
- You will be detained in an ICE detention facility for an average of 4-6 weeks if you are not with children (or at times, with your children at a detention facility that houses families.) Even though parole or release from ICE custody is not guaranteed, the asylum and detention lawyers at Nalbandian Law have a very high success rate of getting individuals paroled without any delays or problems and very often without having to even post a bond.
- After release from custody, you will have your asylum application heard in an immigration court located closest to your place of residence, a process that could take from months to years depending on the schedule of the immigration judge assigned to your case. We will handle the entire process for you from beginning to end, including promptly obtaining work authorization with USCIS which would then allow you to work and drive legally while your case is pending.
Experienced Asylum Immigration Law Firm
Nalbandian Law, a highly regarded immigration law firm in the Los Angeles metro area, is headed by Sassoun A. Nalbandian, a skilled attorney with nearly 15 years of experience dealing with asylum cases and detention cases.
Here is why we can obtain prompt release from detention and win your asylum case:
- We know the documentation. We accurately prepare every piece of documentation that is always required by ICE officers for granting parole.
- We know the detention facilities. We understand how different detention facilities handle situations similar to yours. (Many of our clients enter the U.S. at the Ysidro, California Port of Entry.)
- We have a good reputation with ICE officials. We’ve worked with numerous ICE officials and CBP officers on many occasions over the years, so they know us well and we know them well, too. We have their contact information handy, so we can speed up the parole process so you can be released quickly from detention.
Our vast experience with asylum law and the credible fear interview process results in a much higher success rate for our client’s cases, not only in obtaining release from custody, but more importantly, in ultimately winning your asylum case.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
Call Nalbandian Law today, (818) 244-0310, or contact us online for a personal consultation with one of our expert immigration attorneys about your asylum case and detention process. We’ll assess your situation honestly and discuss all the nuances of what you can expect so there are no surprises along the way, and of course, do our best to help you win your asylum case.