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USCIS raises standard for initial credible fear and reasonable fear interviews

  1. Original Date Announced

    February 13, 2017

    USCIS issues revised lesson plans for training asylum officers, eliminating language reminding officers that credible fear interviews (CFI) and reasonable fear interviews (RFI) are only initial screening interviews rather than full adjudications. The asylum officer is required to make a full credible/reasonable fear determination at the initial interview in place of finding a significant possibility that an immigration judge would later find that the applicant had established a credible/reasonable fear of persecution. [ID# 9]

    USCIS Memo: Release of Updated Asylum Division Officer Training Course Lesson Plans
  2. Effective Date

    February 27, 2017
  4. Biden Administration Action: Other

    July 19, 2021

    Feds Call Off Appeal Salvaging Trump-Era Asylum Guidelines

    This Biden administration action affirms the revocation of the Trump-era policy identified in this entry.

    On July 19, 2021, the Biden administration called off its appeal of the district court's vacatur of the Trump-era rule raising the credible fear standard. The rule will therefore remain enjoined. Kiakombua v. Mayorkas (D.C. Cir. 20-cv-5372).

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Current Status

Not in effect

Most Recent Action

July 19, 2021 Action: Other Feds Call Off Appeal Salvaging Trump-Era Asylum Guidelines
July 19, 2021
Acted on by Biden Administration

Original Trump Policy Status

Trump Administration Action: Change in Practice
Subject Matter: Asylum, Withholding and CAT
Agencies Affected: USCIS

Pre Trump-Era Policies

  • February 13, 2017

    At an initial interview, asylum officers previously needed to find only a "significant possibility" that, in a full hearing, an Immigration Judge could deem the applicant credible.

    Credible Fear Screening


  • 2017.03.08 CNN Politics: Trump admin quietly made asylum more difficult in the US

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