DHS and DOJ Propose to Allow Asylum Officers to Fully Adjudicate Cases

Practice Areas

By: Vandana Marath

The United States Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Justice (DOJ) will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking on August 20, 2021 that would allow United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) asylum officers to adjudicate asylum applications, withholdings of removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) for individuals with a credible fear.

Asylum officers would also be able to determine if applicants denied asylum are eligible to remain in the United States under CAT, with either statutory withholding of removal or deferral of removal. The policy change would apply to adults and families currently placed into the expedited removal process on or after the effective date of the final rule. The change would not apply to unaccompanied minors, who are exempt from expedited removal.

Currently, judges at the DOJ’s Executive Office for Immigration Review adjudicate all asylum cases. This proposed rule aims to shorten processing time and streamline the review process.

Conclusion

The new policy aims to improve the asylum process while effectively handling the rising number of protection claims made at the border. It would also likely reduce the backlog of asylum applications in US immigration courts.

USCIS will hold a public comment period on the proposed rule through October 19, 2021. The agency will review submitted comments and possibly amend the policy before it becomes law.

For case-specific questions, please contact your trusted Chugh, LLP immigration professional.

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