U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli has implemented a new directive that will reduce the amount of time asylum officers need to wait before they can interview an immigrant who has been detained at the U.S. border.
Under the new policy change, officers only have to wait one calendar day instead of 48 hours before conducting a credible fear interview. This new move from the Trump administration has advocates concerned because it will give asylum-seekers less time to prepare for their interviews and recover from the dangerous journey many face on their way to the U.S. border.
According to Ur Jaddou, a former chief counsel at USCIS, “This is another way to limit the process — that will lead to fewer positive credible fear interviews, more deportations. This goes right along with [Cuccinelli’s] mistaken view that he is there to limit the number of people that obtain a benefit and remove people beyond his authority.”
However, USCIS claims the new policy was implemented in order to reduce a significant portion of the processing timeline and to make the system move more efficiently while the government tries to account for record numbers of immigrant families crossing the border.
Jessica Collins, a spokesperson for USCIS, said the following in a statement:
“As part of our efforts to make the expedited removal process more efficient and effective, USCIS is modifying the consultation period to better align with today’s operational realities. This will make the entire expedited removal process more expeditious and help prevent bottlenecking in the system as DHS components continue to process the record number of people arriving at the Southern border.”
What Is a Credible Fear Interview?
Immigrants seeking asylum at the U.S. border must go through an initial screening called a credible fear interview after they have been taken into custody. During this interview, the asylum-seeker must prove there is a significant possibility that they could establish they have a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country.
During the waiting period, immigrants can use the time to consult with an attorney or others to help them prepare their case. Speeding up the interview timeline not only means asylum applicants will be waiting in detention for less time, but it also means they will have less time to prepare for the credible fear interview or get in touch with an experienced lawyer.
Do you have questions about the credible fear interview or petitioning for asylum? Then contact our dedicated team of lawyers today to request your free consultation. We are here to assist you!