Asylum Application, Client Declaration, and Supporting Evidence
As you begin working with your client, you will draft his or her asylum application (the I-589), and a declaration with a detailed account of her or his story. You will also gather supporting evidence that corroborates your client’s story.
I-589 Asylum Application
Applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture all require a form I-589. You will file this form in immigration court at a Master Calendar hearing, or your client may have filed this document pro se before you started working on the case.
Most detained asylum seekers who are in removal proceedings have passed a “credible fear interview” conducted by a USCIS Asylum Officer, soon after they were first encountered by DHS. Your client should have a copy of the decision and the Asylum Officer's notes. While these notes are sometimes referred to as a "transcript" they are NOT in fact a transcript and frequently contain significant errors. You should make sure to review the notes from the credible fear interview as you are preparing your client’s I-589 and declaration. However, we generally do not advise submitting the credible fear interview as an exhibit with your supporting documents.
Along with your client’s I-589 application, you will work closely with your client to draft a detailed declaration that fleshes out your client’s story.
Asylum applicants are required to corroborate their testimony with supporting evidence when it is available. The materials below will help you determine what evidence to obtain and how to obtain it.
Watch the recording of our roundtable webinar to get expert advice on how to corroborate your client's asylum claims. We discuss topics including lay witness statements, client documents, country conditions research, and expert reports.
Practical tips from a clinical social worker who has provided expert testimony in numerous asylum cases about best practices when working with a mental health expert on an asylum case.