Proposed Rule Changes for Asylum Cases and Withholding of Removal

In a joint statement issued June 15, The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed changes to regulations covering credible fear determinations, withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The Departments proposed changes would enable individuals who were found to have such a fear to have their asylum claims heard in streamlined proceedings with an immigration judge.

Current procedures call for individuals with asylum claims and those seeking withholding of removal or protection under CAT to have their case proceed under Section 240 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) within the DOJ Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). With these proposed changes, the Departments would implement a more efficient, timesaving process and specify what standard of review would apply in such proceedings.

Among the proposed changes:

  1. Permit immigration judges to disregard asylum cases without a hearing if the application does not sufficiently demonstrate cause for relief
  2. Explain what constitutes a “frivolous” asylum application
  3. Clarify the standards for deciding asylum and withholding of removal claims and provide better definitions of specific terms used in asylum cases
  4. “Clarify the standard for determining the acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity under the CAT regulations”

As with all proposed rule changes, there is a time period for submitting comments to DOJ and DHS. The comment period ends July 15, 2020. If you wish to provide comments regarding this rulemaking, you must submit comments, identified by the agency name and reference RIN 1125-AA94 or EOIR Docket No. 18-0002, by one of the two methods below.

Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the website instructions for submitting comments.

Mail: Paper comments that duplicate an electronic submission are unnecessary. If you wish to submit a paper comment in lieu of electronic submission, please direct the mail/shipment to: Lauren Alder Reid, Assistant Director, Office of Policy, Executive Office for Immigration Review, 5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 1800, Falls Church, VA 22041. To ensure proper handling, please reference the agency name and RIN 1125-AA94 or EOIR Docket No. 18-0002 on your correspondence. Mailed items must be postmarked or otherwise indicate a shipping date on or before the submission deadline.

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