Featured Issues

Featured Issue: Asylum and Credible Fear Interim Final Rule

11/15/23 AILA Doc. No. 22071302. Asylum, Expedited Removal, Removal & Relief

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The interim final rule Procedures for Credible Fear Screening and Consideration of Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and CAT Protection Claims by Asylum Officers (Asylum Processing Rule or APR) went into effect on May 31, 2022, changing the way DHS processes asylum cases for individuals in expedited removal. The APR creates a significantly condensed processing time and shifts some of the processing that used to happen at the southern border to interior cities.

Under the APR, asylum seekers who pass a credible fear interview will have their interview count as an asylum application before USCIS and have an Asylum Merits Interview (AMI) scheduled within 21 to 45 days. The asylum officer will be based out of a city designated by USCIS, not at the border. A list of the current cities is available here. If asylum is denied, then the person will be referred to an immigration court in the same city, and the immigration court is expected to resolve the case within two to four months.

While the Biden Administration paused this program in advance of the ending of Title 42, it resumed in mid-October 2023. Prior to the end of Title 42, the APR applied to detained single adults in specific detention facilities after they received a positive credible fear determination. As of mid-October 2023, new referrals to this program include FERM families.

This page provides background materials, resources, and ways to sign up to be referred a client going through this process by a nonprofit on the southern border.

Background and Updates

From DHS:

As of mid-October 2023, certain non-detained family units residing in or near one of the AMI cities listed below will be placed into the AMI process following a positive credible fear of persecution determination.

There are currently nine cities where AMIs take place, including: Annandale, VA/Washington, D.C.; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; New Orleans, LA; New York, NY; Newark, NJ; and San Francisco, CA. These cities have been chosen in part because each has robust legal orientation programs (LOPs) available for applicants to access as they prepare for AMIs with USCIS and potential additional proceedings before EOIR in cases where USCIS does not grant asylum.

Previously, detained single adults in certain detention facilities were being referred for the AMI process after receiving a positive credible fear determination. At this time, new referrals include certain non-detained families who meet other parameters, as described further below.

Read DHS Fact Sheet for More Information



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