U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that the agency will schedule asylum interviews for recent applications ahead of older filings, in an attempt to stem the growth of the agency’s asylum backlog.
USCIS is responsible for overseeing the nation’s legal immigration system, which includes adjudicating asylum claims. The agency currently faces a crisis-level backlog of 311,000 pending asylum cases as of Jan. 21, 2018, making the asylum system increasingly vulnerable to fraud and abuse. This backlog has grown by more than 1750 percent over the last five years, and the rate of new asylum applications has more than tripled.