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Immigration Law

DHS, DOJ Argue Over 'Credible Fear' Asylum Rules

Hamed Aleaziz, Buzzfeed News, Nov. 30, 2018 - "Homeland Security and Justice Department officials are feuding over a controversial plan that would force asylum-seekers at the southwestern border to remain in Mexico until their cases are decided, according to sources close the administration.

Department of Justice officials have been pushing for asylum-seekers at the border to be immediately returned to Mexico as they arrive at the border, instead of first undergoing screening for fear of persecution or torture if they are not allowed in.

Department of Homeland Security officials want asylum-seekers screened for persecution, torture, and fear before being immediately returned to Mexico, to ensure that there are no serious concerns for their safety in Mexico.

... Jeffrey Chase, a former immigration judge, said the dispute goes to the very heart of asylum law, which grants foreigners who otherwise would not be admissible the right to enter the country if they can show that they have a “credible fear” of persecution if they are returned to the country they came from.

“‘Credible fear’ was created over 20 years ago to be the standard for those arriving and not deemed admissible. It was designed to be a low bar, as those at the border have just arrived, are often scared of government officials, are sometimes traumatized, usually don’t yet have legal counsel, and have very limited ability to gather evidence,” Chase told BuzzFeed News. “Imposing a higher standard for political purposes would be contrary to our treaty obligation to not return genuine refugees.”"