Daniel M.Pell: Immigration & State and Federal Trial Practice.

Credible Fear Interviews

The credible fear screening interview is conducted fairly quickly after the foreign national informs the immigration officer at the port of entry that he/she is fleeing persecution or seeking asylum. The individual is transferred to a detention center where a specially trained asylum officer conducts an interview. If the individual passes the interview, then he/she will be allowed to present a claim for asylum to an immigration judge through the regular asylum hearing process. Those who do not pass may request a review before an immigration judge; the review is expedited and limited.

After the applicant is taken into custody, he or she will be given an orientation to the credible fear process and given a list of pro bono (free or low cost) legal service providers. USCIS requires a wait of at least 48 hours after the applicant arrives at the detention site before conducting the credible fear interview, in order to give the applicant time to recover from the journey and/or contact a consultant. This period may be waived by the applicant. Decisions about credible fear cases are made as expeditiously as possible by USCIS.

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