An asylum officer is a representative of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency (USCIS). To help you understand what exactly an asylum officer does, read further our article.
What an Asylum Officer Does
Put simply, a USCIS asylum officer will evaluate your story and the facts that you provided to prove that you are eligible for asylum in the United States. Asylum officers perform the following duties:
- Manage interviews with asylum seekers.
- Investigate whether your claims about your home country are true.
- Verify if you are eligible to become an asylee.
- Consult with the most recent U.S. laws that refer to rights of asylum seekers.
- Represent USCIS in front of the Immigration Judge if your case was referred to the Immigration Court.
Because asylum officers literally decide on the human lives, they must be trained. USCIS has implemented a special Asylum Division’s Training Section to coach future asylum officers to manage interviews and investigate cases of asylum seekers. However, even considering that USCIS strives to upgrade the skills of their asylum officers, not always the asylum officer who will work on your case is a true professional. To clarify this statement, we are going to review a couple of examples.
Pay Attention to What You Say to Asylum Officers
Many asylum seekers have shared how their interviews with asylum officers went on. And unfortunately, some asylum officers seemed to lack experience and did not handle the interview with a refugee well.
Asylum officers may ask inappropriate questions during the interview if necessary. Asking questions is part of their work, and you must be ready to answer basically any question. On the other hand, an asylum officer may ask a few strange questions that are not directly related to your case.
For example, an asylum officer may ask questions about various events described in Bible if the applicant claimed that he or she had converted from Islam to Christianity. And although the applicant may answer correctly, the asylum officer may conclude that the applicant is not eligible for asylum. If you omitted a small detail in your response that seemed important to the asylum officer, the officer may consider your answer incomplete and deny your application for asylum.
To sum up, an asylum officer is the U.S. government representative who will make an important decision about your application for asylum. You should handle yourself well during the interview with a USCIS asylum officer. And to help you with that, we recommend that you hire a professional attorney or an immigration lawyer who will assist during the interviews and protect your interests.