National Asylee Information & Referral Line

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Asylee Information

In recent years, more than 24,000 people from over 100 nations have been granted asylum in the United States. Asylees have often suffered from persecution in their country of origin, forced migration, detention in the United States, and the uncertainty of the asylum adjudication process. Most confront systemic and bureaucratic barriers to resettlement and integration, and need well-coordinated and prompt social services to ease their transition.

CLINIC's National Asylee Information and Referral Line, which operated for 11 years, from 2001 to 2012, referred asylees to more than 500 local providers of resettlement services such as English language classes, job placement assistance, temporary cash assistance, and medical assistance. Funded by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and operated by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, the referral line provided a single, centralized source of accurate information about service eligibility and programs across the country that assist asylees with the resources they need for a smooth adjustment and early self-sufficiency.  Referral line counselors spoke 18 languages, including English, Spanish, Haitian-Creole, Chinese, French, Russian, and Arabic.

Over its 11 year history, the referral line project:

  • Provided one-on-one help to over 39,000 asylees (about 300 per month).
  • Created and maintained an up-to-date referral database (the first of its kind) of more than 500 local refugee service providers throughout the U.S.
  • Placed outreach information in the regional USCIS asylum offices and improved outreach to asylees in the immigration courts.
  • Created an informational guide to assist service providers who work with asylees. The guide contains information about the benefits and services for which asylees are eligible, including temporary cash and medical assistance, employment assistance, English classes, employment authorization, Social Security cards, I-94s, adjustment of status, travel authorization, change of address, family reunification, and federal student financial aid.




Benefits & Services

CLINIC guide, Asylee Eligibility for Resettlement Assistance 

ORR outreach flyer for asylees (available in 9 languages)

USCIS fee waiver application, Form I-912

USCIS policy guidance on fee waivers, March 2011

USCIS fact sheet on asylee travel


General Information

DHS Office of Immigration Statistics 2012 annual flow report on refugees and asylees

Executive Office for Immigration Review asylum statistics

USCIS asylum page

ORR policy memoranda on asylees


For more information about this project, please contact Laura Burdick at

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Post-Admission Issues for Asylees

What if your asylee client has an error on his/her I-94 card?  Do you know how to get it corrected? What if Social Security won’t issue your asylee client a card?  What if an employer demands documentation from your asylee client that he or she doesn’t have? Documentation problems can impede asylees’ employment, access to public benefits, and integration.  

This webinar presented by CLINIC attorney Jennie Guilfoyle and project coordinator Laura Burdick reviews how asylees obtain key documents and benefits, and how to address related problems or challenges such as errors or bureaucratic delays.  Topics include employment authorization, protection against alienage discrimination, driver’s licenses and state ID cards, eligibility for public benefits and social security numbers, travel authorization, and correcting errors on documents issued by USCIS.

Held September 23, 2010.

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