Asylum Process Rule Includes Welcome Improvements, But Critical Flaws Remain to Be Resolved

May 06, 2022
  • Description

On March 29, 2022, the Biden administration published an Interim Final Rule (IFR) that creates a new process for asylum seekers entering the United States. The IFR contains significant improvements—including preserving access to immigration court removal hearings and establishing a status conference mechanism that encourages narrowing of issues—following comments from members of congress, UNHCR, Human Rights First, and many legal services organizations. Under the IFR, asylum seekers who are placed in the expedited removal process— wherever they enter or are processed into the United States—and who establish a credible fear of persecution may be assessed in an initial, full asylum interview ("Asylum Merits Interview") by an asylum officer from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Cases not granted by the Asylum Office are referred to immigration court removal proceedings, as are other asylum cases that are not granted by the Asylum Office. The IFR, which is scheduled to take effect on May 31, 2022, follows an August 2021 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in which the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice requested public comment on the proposed rule. Comments on the IFR must be submitted on or before May 31, 2022.