When I started The Asylumist over 11 years ago, I hoped to create a forum for discussing the U.S. asylum system. I didn't know whether anyone would actually read the blog or whether I had the time and energy to maintain it (and truth be told, when I started, I really wasn't even sure what a blog was). But here we are more than a decade later, still going.

During those years, much has changed with the asylum system: The Immigration Court backlog has increased from 243,000 to over 1.3 million; the Asylum Office backlog has grown from less than 32,000 to more than 386,000; we've seen the border "surge" (a couple times). the hostility of the Trump Administration, and the pandemic. The population of asylum seekers has changed as well. The Syrian civil war, the Arab Spring, increased instability in Venezuela, and a further breakdown of law and order in Central America all contributed to new waves of applicants seeking protection in the United States.

As I was observing and writing about asylum during these turbulent years, I was also thinking about turning some of my blog posts into a book. And for maybe the last two years, I've been actively working to get that done. Given my other obligations--family, job, blogging--I was not sure I would ever complete the work. But somehow, with the help and support of many people, the book is now done and available for sale. You can check it out here: The Asylumist: How to Seek Asylum in the United States and Keep Your Sanity.

I plan to write more about the book in future posts. But for now, I simply want to let people know that the book is available, and to explain why I wrote it, and how I hope it will help asylum seekers, advocates, and others interested in the U.S. asylum system.

After more than ten years writing this blog, I felt I had a lot of useful material, but it wasn’t organized or easily accessible. In the book, I’ve selected the most helpful and popular blog posts, updated them, and sorted them by topic. The book is divided by chapter to help asylum seekers and advocates find the information that they need, and to answer questions about the various parts of the process. Hopefully, this arrangement will be useful for asylum seekers and for others interested in the asylum system.

Of course, the book is not a substitute for obtaining advice from an attorney or an accredited representative. The rules related to asylum are in constant flux. What is true today may not be true tomorrow, and what worked for your friend may not work for you. There are many subtleties and pitfalls in the asylum process, and no book (or blog) can substitute for having an expert review the specifics of your case.

Also, this is not a traditional “how to” book, in the sense that it does not offer step-by-step instructions about how to seek asylum in the United States. Such a book would be difficult to write for an audience of non-lawyers (or even for an audience of lawyers), since there are so many variables. Each case has its own peculiarities and the law changes frequently.

Instead, the book is meant to serve as a companion for asylum seekers and their advocates. It is designed to support you as you navigate the asylum bureaucracy. It answers a number of common questions and aspires to help asylum seekers better understand the process. Further, and not least of all, the book aims to provide some comfort to those working their way through a difficult, confusing, demoralizing, and often unjust system. Perhaps by learning more about the process, asylum seekers will feel more empowered and more hopeful.

You can learn more, or purchase a copy of the book, here: The Asylumist: How to Seek Asylum in the United States and Keep Your Sanity.

Profits from this book will be donated to various asylum-related charities, and over the coming months, I hope to schedule some events in partnership with charitable organizations. I will post details here once I have more information.

Finally, to my family and friends, my clients and colleagues, and to the entire Asylumist community, I thank you for your support and friendship over these last many years, and I look forward to continuing our journey together.

Originally posted on the Asylumist: www.Asylumist.com