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EOIR Director modifies asylum processing and asylum clock, rescinds two OPPMs

  1. Date Announced

    Dec. 4, 2020

    Through Policy Memo 21-06, the EOIR Director rescinds OPPM 00-01 (Asylum Request Processing) and OPPM 13-02 (The Asylum Clock), but claims to retain their core principles. The memo:

    • Directs courts not to accept an affirmative asylum application referred by USCIS unless it contains all the supporting documents.
    • Reiterates that defensive asylum applications need no longer be filed in person during a hearing, but also reiterates the new rules regarding the filing of incomplete applications.
    • Reiterates the new rules for adjudicating asylum claims within 180 days and directing immigration judges to stop the asylum clock only when there are exceptional circumstances. It also discusses the circumstances under which the clock stops permanently (an untimely filed application with no applicable exception to the deadline, a withdrawn application, an application deemed abandoned by the judge, and an application granted or denied by the judge).
    • States that EOIR 'houses' the employment authorization (EAD) clock for the convenience of USCIS and does so through adjournment codes. The memo expressly prohibits judges from inquiring whether the respondent wants an expedited hearing date for purposes of the EAD clock.
    • Directs immigration judges to clearly identify the exceptional circumstances that warrant continuing an asylum case, reinforcing that "intentional or repeated negligent use of an incorrect code" may result in "corrective action" for the judge.
    • Observes that the regulations do not require an immigration judge to postpone a case where the respondent has failed to provide biometrics or biographical information, even if the respondent demonstrates good cause.
    • Restates the rules for proper NTA filings by USCIS.
    • Discusses immigration judge requests for Department of State comments on individual cases.
    • States that the filing of I-589 application for withholding of removal or CAT relief, but not asylum, will start neither the asylum clock nor the EAD clock.
    • Specifies that the asylum clock does not run after the judge enters a decision on the application. It does not run while the case is on appeal before the BIA, nor if the case is remanded by the BIA.

    [ID #1226]

    View Policy Document
  2. Effective Date of Change

    Dec. 4, 2020

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