Asylum Flow Charts

Given the complexity of the asylum process, several volunteers expressed a desire to see it represented as a flow chart. This post rounds up a few asylum flow charts already circulating the internet.

Though not a flow chart, for understanding asylum in the US, a good place to start is the National Immigration Council’s Asylum in the United States Fact Sheet from May of 2018. This document defines key terms and concepts that may be helpful for interpreting the following flow charts.

Current Affairs 2017 Flow Chart

Current Affairs magazine has a very fine graphic that effectively communicates the complexity of the process. The chart is from the perspective of an asylum seeker originating the southern triangle of Central America. Distinct from the other graphics in this roundup, the Current Affairs chart is not a legalistic document. It was instead created for the public press and contains a fair amount of editorial commentary. The illustration highlights many of the problems or complications that can occur along they way. The graphic also effectively illustrates how luck has a role to play at various stages of the process. The file was created in 2017 and appears to be the most recent asylum flow chart presently on the internet.

PSU Law 2016 Flow Chart

Penn State Law, as part of its welcoming refugees panel discussion, provides a flow chart of the asylum process. The graphic details both affirmative and defensive asylum. The flow chart provides greater detail representing the earlier parts of the asylum process and covers less detail in depicting the various stages of appeal. The file was created in 2016.

UNHCR 2013 Flow Chart

The United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) provides a flow chart of asylum. The graphic represents affirmative asylum in yellow, includes reinstatement of removal, and also depicts expedited removal. According to this chart, as well as several other similar graphics, defensive asylum begins under expedited removal. The graphic does a good job of illustrating how various pathways each lead to a master calendar hearing before an immigration judge. As with the PSU flow chart above, the UNHCR graphic shows greater detail when representing the earlier stages of the process and provides less detail at the various appeal stages. The chart does not include appeal to the circuit courts or the Supreme Court. The file was created in 2013.

NIJC 2011 Flow Chart

The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) provides a graphic description of the asylum process. It includes both affirmative and defensive asylum. The flow chart omits the credible fear interview which comes before the master calendar hearing. The chart also lists the 7th Circuit court of appeals. The specific circuit court depends on where the individual is seeking asylum. For example, individuals detained at either EPSPC or WTDF would appeal to the 5th Circuit while those detained at OCPC would appeal to the 10th Circuit. The file was created in 2011.