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Biden Administration’s Asylum Processing Rule is Now in Effect in the Courts and Asylum Offices of Seven Destination Cities

The Asylum Processing Rule is a significant regulatory change under the Biden administration that allows Asylum Officers to conduct Asylum Merits Interviews of certain asylum seekers who have passed credible fear interviews rather than having those cases referred directly to the immigration court. The Rule was issued as an Interim Final Rule and took effect on May 31, 2022. 

The Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, and the Department of Justice, or DOJ, have jointly issued an interim final rule that revises the processing of certain applications. These include applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture, or CAT. The purpose of the new rule is to speed up the asylum process, with the goal of completing it within six months.

Those subject to the rule should take into account the following:

Never submit an I-589; the asylum officer’s credible fear interview (CFI) notes become the asylum application;

Are not placed directly into removal proceedings after passing a CFI and instead are referred to the Asylum Office for a new Asylum Merits Interview (AMI);

Will be placed into new “streamlined” immigration court proceedings if they do not win before the asylum office;

Must present their claim on an extraordinarily fast-tracked timeline, with the individual court hearing occurring within 180 days of the CFI.

Asylum Merits Interviews and Streamlined Removal Proceedings Are Now Proceeding in Certain Cities

While practitioners who do not engage in border work may think from the rule’s title, “Procedures for Credible Fear Screening and Consideration of Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and CAT Protection Claims by Asylum Officers,” that the rule will not affect their cases, all asylum attorneys need to be aware of the significant confirmed changes to some asylum adjudications, and the extremely accelerated timelines for these cases, as asylum seekers processed under the rule are already having their cases heard in asylum offices and immigration courts outside of the southern border.

For now, USCIS is rolling out the rule through phased implementation and is currently only applying the rule to those who are processed through two detention facilities in Texas and whose destination city is one of the following: Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Newark, San Francisco, or Chicago. Asylum offices in these cities have already begun to hear Asylum Merits Interview.


This article, under no circumstances, acts as legal advice; therefore, for any immigration questions, please contact your Attorney or the Ahluwalia Law Offices, P.C. (Team ALO).

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