The person who makes decisions about an affirmative asylum application is called an Asylum Officer. The Asylum Officer conducts interviews and adjudicates asylum applications that are not made in Immigration Court. The Asylum Officers are located in eight Asylum Offices across the United States: New York, NY, Newark, NJ, Arlington, VA, Miami, FL, Houston, TX, Chicago, IL, San Francisco, CA and Anaheim, CA.
Asylum Officers conduct interviews at the eight Asylum Offices, and also travel around the country performing asylum interviews at other government offices. If an asylum applicant does not live near one of the eight asylum offices, then he or she must wait for an Asylum Officer to visit the area in order to have an interview. Most interviews are done within 3-4 months of an asylum application being filed.
Asylum Officers are employees of the federal government, but they are protected from political pressure. They cannot be asked questions about politics when hired, and they are allowed to keep their job as long as they do not commit any misconduct. The point of these rules is to make sure that the Asylum Officer is allowed to do what he or she thinks is right, rather than listening to political pressure. An Asylum Officer cannot be fired for granting too many asylum applications.
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