Homeland Security Urged to Investigate Instances of Bias at Boston Asylum Office Says Pingree

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Rep. Chellie Pingree (D) .And Colleagues Urge an Investigation into the Boston Asylum Office to Begin Immediately.

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) joined six of her congressional colleagues in writing to the Department of  Homeland Security’s office of Inspection General urging it to open a formal review of the Boston Asylum Office operated by US Citizenship and Immigration Services.  The letter cites a recent report, authored by the University of Maine School of Law, which found that the Boston Asylum office approved only 15.5% of the asylum applications it reviewed between 2015 and 2020.  That is about half of the national average of 28%.   The report found that time constraints, excessive officer influence over cases and instances of bias plague the Boston Asylum Office operations.

In response, the lawmakers are calling on the DHS to launch an investigation to ensure that asylum applicants in Maine receive a fair and equitable opportunity to have their cases heard.

“An alarming new report documents that the Boston Asylum Office’s grant rate is far below the national average, finding that it is driven by a culture of suspicion toward asylum seekeers and an overwhelming predisposition to refer asylum cases to immigration court,” wrote the lawmakers.  “We write to request that the Department of Homeland Security Office immediately open in investigation into the Boston Asylum Office to determine whether and if so, why its grant rate is so low…” according to a press release issued by Congresswoman Pingree’s office this morning.