Under U.S. law, you must file within one year of your last entry into the United States in order to remain eligible for asylum. However, there are certain exceptions that may allow you to file after one year, such as the existence of changed or extraordinary circumstances that can affect an individual’s eligibility for asylum.
In a recent case Mendez-Rojas v. Johnson, No. 2:16-cv-01024-RSM (W.D. Wash) the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington found that the failure to provide individuals with reasonable notice of the one-year asylum application deadline violates the original Congressional intent, which was meant to ensure that individuals with viable asylum claims receive proper notice.
The case involved a group of individuals who alleged that the practices of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) infringed on their statutory and regulatory rights to apply for asylum and, as a result, violated their rights to due process under the Fifth Amendment.
The group represented argued that because DHS failed to notify them of the one-year filing deadline, DHS effectively reduced the cumulative time allowed in the filing period, even though this was not the original intent of Congress.
The Court agreed and found that failure to provide notice of the one-year application period violated the Congressional intent behind the deadline. The Court further ordered that DHS must provide notice of the asylum filing deadline to all class members that are currently detained and not released prior to the time the individuals are released from custody.
In a political climate that is very uncertain, this is a great victory for potential asylum-seekers because it emphasizes that due process of the law must be enforced and observed by immigration officials, many of whom are the first formal officials asylum-seekers encounter upon their entry into the United States.
April 6, 2018 | By Law Clerk, Cynthia Millian | Powers Law Group