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23.1 Cover Letters for Affirmative Applications

23.1.1 Cover Letter for “Barebones Submission”

If you are submitting an affirmative application, as discussed in Chapter 14, it is advisable to submit the I-589 almost completely by itself, with other documentation to follow later, so as to get your client, as soon as possible, a spot in the long line for an asylum interview. The cover letter for this “barebones” application may look as follows:

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[DATE]x

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Citizenship and Immigration Services
[LOCATION] Service Center [see p. 10 of the I-589 instructions]x
[ADDRESS LINE 1]x
[ADDRESS LINE 2]x

Re: Joao Doe (DOB 01/01/1901)

Dear Sirs/Madams:

Attached please find the above-referenced individual’s application for Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and relief under the Convention against Torture (Form I-589). The following documents are submitted on Mr. Doe’s behalf:

Enclosed, please find the following documents on Mr. Doe’s behalf:

  1. An original Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative (Form G-28), plus one copy;
  2. An original Application for Asylum, and for Withholding of Removal (Form I-589), plus one copy;
  3. One passport-sized photograph of Mr. Doe attached on page 9 of the original Form I-589;
  4. Two complete copies of Mr. Doe’s Brazilian passport; and
  5. Two copies of Mr. Doe’s most recent Form I-94.
[You may also wish to include other documentation immediately pertinent to the claim, such as: documentation supporting an exception to the one-year filing deadline (if applicable); a state court-ordered name change (if the applicant’s passport does not reflect their legal name); a physician’s letter corroborating gender identity (if the applicant’s passport does not reflect their gender identity), etc.]x

Note that additional documents will be submitted at or before the asylum interview.

All documents have been provided in triplicate.  Please do not hesitate to contact me at the number above if you have any questions regarding this matter. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Clarence Darrow, Esq.

23.1.2 Cover Letter for Supplemental Submissions

After submitting a barebones application, and up to one week before the scheduled asylum interview, you can submit additional documentation in support of the client’s application (see Chapters 14–22). NOTE that these submissions should go directly to the Asylum Office with jurisdiction over the client’s claim, not to the Service Center to which you previously sent the barebones application. The cover letter for these submissions may look as follows:

***

[DATE]x

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Citizenship and Immigration Services
[LOCATION] Asylum Office
[ADDRESS LINE 1]x
[ADDRESS LINE 2]x

Re: Joao Doe (DOB 01/01/1901)

A-Number XXX-XXX-XXX

Dear Sirs/Madams:

I represent the above-referenced asylum applicant. In conjunction with [his/her] Form I-589, received by USCIS and pending as of [DATE] (Receipt #XXX0000000000), please find attached the following additional documents:

Tab   |     Document
Applicant’s Declaration
A       |     Declaration of Applicant, [NAME]x
Supporting Documents
B       |     Birth Certificate of [NAME]x
C       |     Affidavit of [NAME]x
…      |      [ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTS]x
Country Conditions Information
U      |      Index to documentation of country conditions regarding persecution against [LGBTQ/H] individuals in [COUNTRY], followed by numerically tabbed source materials

All documents have been submitted in duplicate.

Mr. Doe is a gay man from Brazil. [HERE, YOU CAN PROCEED TO MAKE LEGAL ARGUMENTS AS TO YOUR CLIENT’S ELIGIBILITY FOR ASYLUM, REFERENCING SPECIFIC DOCUMENTS THAT YOU HAVE SUBMITTED]

Please do not hesitate to contact me at the number above if you have any questions regarding this matter.

Sincerely,

Clarence Darrow, Esq.

23.2 Cover Letters for Defensive Applications

23.2.1 Cover Letter for I-589 Filing

Usually, Form I-589 is submitted in open court at a Master Calendar Hearing (MCH). If, however, your first MCH is scheduled more than a year after your client’s most recent entry to the U.S., you will likely wish to file the I-589 within that first year (or as soon as possible thereafter), by mail or in person. This procedure is described in a 2016 memorandum from the Chief Immigration Judge, available at http://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/pages/attachments/2016/09/14/oppm_16-01.pdf. If you hand-deliver it, bring an extra copy with you to be date-stamped for your records. If you mail it, include an extra copy and a self-addressed, stamped envelope for return service of a date-stamped version, and a short cover letter (which does not and should not replace the immigration court’s own formatting and filing requirements, described in detail in the Immigration Court Practice Manual at http://www.justice.gov/eoir/office-chief-immigration-judge-0. Your cover letter may look as follows:

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[DATE]x

U.S. Department of Justice
Executive Office for Immigration Review
[LOCATION] Immigration Court
[ADDRESS LINE 1]x
[ADDRESS LINE 2]x

Re: Joao Doe (A-Number XXX-XXX-XXX)

Dear Clerk of the Court:

Attached please find the above-referenced individual’s application for Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and relief under the Convention against Torture (Form I-589). Pursuant to OPPM 16-01, I am hereby filing Form I-589 on Mr. Doe’s behalf. Enclosed please find:

  1. An original Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative (Form EOIR-28);
  2. An original Application for Asylum, and for Withholding of Removal (Form I-589), plus one copy for return service;
  3. One passport-sized photograph of Mr. Doe attached on page 9 of the original Form I-589;
  4. Two complete copies of Mr. Doe’s Brazilian passport; and
  5. Two copies of Mr. Doe’s most recent Form I-94.
[You may also wish to include other documentation immediately pertinent to the claim, such as: documentation supporting an exception to the one-year filing deadline (if applicable); a state court-ordered name change (if the applicant’s passport does not reflect their legal name); a physician’s letter corroborating gender identity (if the applicant’s passport does not reflect their gender identity), etc.]x

Please confirm receipt of this Form I-589 by returning a date-stamped copy in the enclosed, pre-addressed, stamped envelope.

Please do not hesitate to contact me at the number above if you have any questions regarding this matter. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Clarence Darrow, Esq.

23.2.2 Cover Letter for Subsequent Filing

Subsequent filings should also be formatted in accordance with the Immigration Court Practice Manual, and their contents will depend upon the nature and timing of the filing.

This Manual is intended to provide information to attorneys and accredited representatives. It is not intended as legal advice. Asylum seekers should speak with qualified attorneys before applying.