Any person entering the US to seek asylum must apply for the relief within 1 year of entry to the US. If they don’t, they often lose the opportunity to apply for the relief from removal. Many applicants are not aware of the one-year deadline because the immigration authorities don’t inform them about it upon detaining them or releasing them from custody.
On March 29, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington issued an important decision, Mendez Rojas v. Johnson, 2018 WL 1532715 (W.D. Wash. Mar. 29, 2018), concerning the one-year asylum applications deadlines that must be provided to asylum seekers. The Court said that all individuals who are released or will be released from the custody of the Department of Homeland Security after they have been found to have a credible fear of persecution, whether they are in removal proceedings or not and who never received the 1 year asylum application deadline notice from the DHS and who either filed their asylum applications after the 1 year deadline or have not yet filed the asylum application yet must be deemed to have applied for asylum timely.
The Court also said that all individuals who are released or will be released from DHS custody, who express a fear of return to their country of origin, are issued a Notice to Appear, who either filed their asylum applications after the 1 year deadline or have not yet filed the asylum application yet whether they are in removal proceedings or not and did not receive notice from DHS of the one-year deadline to file an application for asylum must also be deemed to have filed their applications for asylum timely.
This decision makes thousands of applicants eligible for asylum despite the fact that they may have missed the one-year deadline to file their applications.