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U.S. to Change Asylum Procedures for Immigrants Seeking Asylum at the Border

April 11, 2022
Hon. Robert Vinikoor (Ret.)

On March 29, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which houses USCIS, and the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) which oversees the U.S. Immigration court system announced an interim final rule that is slated to take effect on May 31, 2022.   Under the new rule, some asylum-seekers who express a fear of persecution if they are returned to their home country will have their application decided by USCIS asylum officers instead of immigration judges.  Asylum officers will accept or reject noncitizen asylum claims for protection soon after they cross the border.  Arriving noncitizen will be placed in a process known as “expedited removal.” If the noncitizen is found to have a “credible fear of persecution” the new rule sends the asylum seeker to an Asylum Merits Interview (AMI) also conducted by a USCIS asylum officer.  The new asylum rule greatly accelerates the timeline for a decision, aiming to have the asylum seeker attend the Asylum Merits Interview between 21-45 days after their Credible Fear Interview.  The asylum officer will now decide the case in its entirety, including the additional relief of withholding of removal and Convention Against Torture Protection.  By shifting the adjudications of claims from immigration judges to asylum officers, officials hope cases will be completed in months, not years.   If a case is denied by the asylum officer after the AMI the individual may request review by an immigration judge, but only under a streamlined process that is expected to take place 30 days later.

This new fast-track asylum system may make it more difficult to qualify for asylum sacrificing accurate decision-making for speed.   If you are a recent arrival that was recently released or paroled at the border, it is important to speak to an immigration attorney concerning your options.  If you want to see how these changes could impact your immigration case, please contact Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C. at 312-427-6163 and schedule a consultation with one of our experienced immigration attorneys.

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