number of pending affirmative asylum cases as of August 2023
Individuals granted asylum in FY 2021
(a 61-percent decrease from 45,888 in 2019)
Nights of Lodging for asylees provided by SIH in 2023
Asylum seekers SIH provided free lodging and social work assistance for in 2023
They hailed from Afghanistan, Angola, Benin, Chad, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Iran, Jamaica, Liberia, Libya, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Peru, Sudan, Tunisia, Ukraine, and Venezuela.
WHAT IS AN ASYLUM SEEKER?
An individual outside their country of origin must prove that he or she has suffered past persecution and/or has a well-founded fear of future persecution based on one of five grounds or a combination of grounds:
Race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, and political opinion
WHAT IS THE BACKLOG OF ASYLUM CASES ?
According to TRAC Immigration, reporting in December 2022, the number of asylum seekers waiting for asylum hearings in the U.S. has now reached at least 1,565,966 individuals.
These asylum applications—nearly 1.6 million—represent the largest total number of pending asylum applications on record. Asylum backlogs are not new (as TRAC has shown many times), since the number of people requesting the type of protection that asylum provides has typically exceeded the capacity of government agencies to process applications quickly and fairly.
Yet in recent years, with political, economic, and environmental instability in places like Mexico, Venezuela, Haiti, Central America, Ukraine, and elsewhere, the United States has seen a growth in migrants’ needs that outpace even the growing number of Immigration Judges and asylum officers added by both Democratic and Republican administrations. Even so, 1.6 million applications are a lot of applications, and a lot of human lives represented by those applications, many of them children. This growth has contributed to bureaucratic pressures on government agencies and no doubt contributed to vigorous (but not always research-informed) public debate about asylum policies.
At the end of FY 2012, over 100,000 asylum cases were pending in the Immigration Court’s backlog. A decade later, the backlog had grown over 7-fold to over 750,000 cases in September at the end of FY 2022. Since then, in just the first two months of FY 2023 (October-November 2022), the asylum backlog jumped by over 30,000 new cases and now totals 787,882.
IS THERE ANY PROGRESS IN SPEEDING UP THE ASYLUM PROGRESS?
Last year saw a substantial increase in the Immigration Court’s processing of asylum cases, reported TRAC IMMIGRATION in November 2022. The number of asylum cases decided on their merits rebounded from their prior year’s low, and the number of individuals granted asylum by Immigration Judges reached an all-time high. Grant rates also rose.
Total decisions more than doubled from 24,810 in FY 2021, to 51,607 during FY 2022. And the number of individuals granted asylum by Immigration Judges increased from 8,945 to 23,686. This was the largest number of individuals granted asylum in any year in the Immigration Court's history.
HOW DOES SEAFARERS INTERNATIONAL HOUSE HELP?
Organize volunteer visitation providing hope and encouragement to detainees
Provide free temporary lodging and social work assistance to asylees with a referral from our approved partner agencies
Advocate on behalf of asylum seekers to improve conditions in detention centers and to shorten the time that cases take to be decided