The Department of Homeland Security has prepared new guidance for immigration agents aimed at speeding up deportations by denying asylum claims earlier in the process.
The new guidelines, contained in a draft memo dated February 17 but not yet sent to field offices, directs agents to only pass applicants who have a good chance of ultimately getting asylum, but does not give specific criteria for establishing credible fear of persecution if sent home.
The guidance instructs asylum officers to “elicit all relevant information” in determining whether an applicant has “credible fear” of persecution if returned home, the first obstacle faced by migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border requesting asylum. (Graphic: tmsnrt.rs/2m4aPAs)
Three sources familiar with the drafting of the guidance said the goal of the new instructions is to raise the bar on initial screening in order to ease strain on the courts and reduce the number of immigrants allowed to stay in the United States, often for years, while they await a hearing.
The administration’s plan is to leave wide discretion to asylum officers by allowing them to determine which applications have a “significant possibility” of being approved by an immigration court, the sources said.
The guidance was first reported and posted on the internet by McClatchy news organization.