April 07, 2021

Following Push, Gillibrand Welcomes The Elimination Of “Blank Space” Criteria For Asylum Applications

Arbitrary Rejection of Asylum Applications Caused Enormous Hardship for Applicants

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand responded to a recent U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announcement that the agency has eliminated “blank space” criteria, and reverted back to the rejection criteria that applied before October 2019.  USCIS will no longer reject Form I-589, Form I-612 or Form I-918 if an applicant leaves a blank space. In September, Gillibrand led a group of twelve senators in a letter to Department of Homeland Security Kenneth T. Cuccinelli inquiring about recent changes to adjudication procedures that have caused enormous hardship to applicants. Asylum, U Visa, and other routine applications that were being regularly rejected because of failure to complete irrelevant or immaterial fields that have no bearing on information needed for final adjudications. 

“I am pleased to see DHS roll back some of the harmful and chaotic policies that prevented individuals coming to this country seeking a better life from a fair shot at having their asylum applications fairly considered. This victory belongs to the countless stakeholders who voiced their concerns, and fought tirelessly to roll back this absurd policy. The work continues, and I remain steadfast in my commitment to building a fairer, transparent, and more just immigration and asylum system.”