\ fr \ Federal Register Publications (CIS, ICE, CBP) \ Federal Register Publications (Legacy INS) - 1997 \ FEDERAL REGISTER INTERIM REGULATIONS - 1997 \ Inspection and Expedited Removal of Aliens; Detention and Removal of Aliens; Conduct of Removal Proceedings; Asylum Procedures [62 FR 10312] [FR 10-97] \ Conditions of Secondary Inspection
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Conditions of Secondary Inspection
Numerous commenters indicated that the secondary inspection should be conducted in private, comfortable rooms, and that no secondary inspection should take place before an alien has had time to rest (some commenters suggested 24 hours), eat, and consult with family, friends, counsel, or other representatives. The commenters also suggest that aliens should have access to interpreters before and during the screening process.
At airports, the inspection facilities for the Federal Inspection Services (FIS), which includes the Service, U.S. Customs Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Public Health Service, are provided by the airport authorities. While the Government has input when new facilities are constructed, the inspection areas, especially in older airports, simply do not allow for the amenities suggested by the commenters. The same is true for land border ports, where the facility is usually provided
by the General Services Administration and overall space is often extremely limited. The Service has always made every effort to afford as much privacy during sensitive or complex interviews as conditions allow, and will continue to do so.
As for delaying the secondary interview to allow every alien time to rest prior to being questioned, the Service again points out that it conducts more than ten million secondary inspections each year. Most of those questioned are eager to have their inspection completed as quickly as possible. The Department has neither the resources nor the authority to detain all secondary referrals without first conducting a prompt interview to determine inadmissibility.
Use of Interpreters
The issue of language barriers and the use of interpreters is not new to the Service. The Service makes use of interpreters whenever necessary and will continue to do so to ensure that all aliens are fully apprised of the proceedings against them. The Service currently uses its own officers, many of whom are bilingual or multilingual, airport personnel, or telephonic interpretive services when in-person interpreters are not available. Occasionally, family members or persons waiting to meet the arriving a
lien may be allowed to assist in translation of the interview. The Service will use appropriate means to ensure that aliens being removed are advised of and understand the reasons for the removal and the consequences of such removal.
Representation During Secondary Inspection
Several commenters stated that an alien subject to expedited removal should be able to obtain representation or counsel prior to any secondary inspection interview. As discussed in the section on disclosures to aliens in expedited removal, the secondary inspection officer often does not know that an alien will be subject to expedited removal until such questioning has taken place, nor will all determinations of inadmissibility under section 212(a)(6)(C) or (7) of the Act result in an expedited removal orde
r. Section 292 of the Act provides that in any removal proceeding before an immigration judge, the person concerned shall have the privilege of being represented by counsel, at no expense to the Government. Congress did not amend this section to include proceedings before an immigration officer. In addition, while Congress specifically provided for consultation prior to the credible fear interview, it did not provide for consultation prior to the immigration inspection and issuance of the order. Therefo
re, the Department will retain its interpretation that an alien in primary or secondary inspection is not entitled to representation, except where the person has become the focus of a criminal investigation and has been taken into custody for that purpose.
Written Record of Proceeding
Several commenters expressed concern that there be a complete record of proceeding to ensure that Service officers are making proper decisions. As previously explained, an official Service file will be created on every expedited removal case. The file will include photographs, fingerprints, copies of any documentary or other evidence presented or discovered, and a complete written sworn statement. The sworn statement will record all facts of the case and the alien's statements. As with all sworn stateme
nts taken by the Service, the alien is required to initial each page and any corrections, and sign the statement certifying that he or she has read (or had read to him or her), the statement and that it is true and correct. When necessary, interpreters will be used. The language added to the regulation at § 235.3(b)(2) requires that such sworn statement be taken in every case. Procedures developed for the
Inspector's Field Manual
also contain very specific instructions regarding the record of proceeding.
Time and Place of Credible Fear Interview
Several commenters requested that the regulations state where and when the credible fear interviews will take place. The statute provides that credible fear interviews may take place either at a port-of-entry or at other locations that the Attorney General may designate. The Service intends that most interviews will be conducted at Service detention facilities, but prefers the flexibility to make adjustments to this arrangement as the need arises. Therefore, this operational concern will not be addressed
in the regulation. The Service maintains detention facilities near several major airports such as JFK, Miami, and Los Angeles, as well as many locations along the southern border and other sites like Denver, Seattle, and Houston. In circumstances where the port of arrival is not near a Service detention facility and it is impractical to transport the alien to a Service facility, the alien may be detained in other Service-approved detention sites, such as local or county jails. In these instances an as
ylum officer will travel to the detention site to conduct the interview.
Several commenters suggest that the Service should conduct credible fear interviews at its local asylum offices whenever possible. The Service declines to be bound by this suggestion because of the prohibitive costs involved in transporting aliens, under escort, to and from detention facilities. However, the Service retains the option to conduct interviews at places designated for asylum officers.
Similarly, the Service intends that aliens will normally be given 48 hours from the time of arrival at the detention facility, in which to contact family members, friends, attorneys, or representatives. During the referral process from the port-of-entry, they will be given a list of
representatives. This list is provided for the purpose of consultation prior to the interview, and does not entitle the alien to formal counsel or representation during the credible fear interview. The aliens will be given access to a telephone to make such contacts. Commenters suggest that aliens be given petty cash or be permitted to make telephone calls at Government expense; however, the statute that provides for such consultation specifically states that the consultation shall be at no expense to t
Detention Pending a Determination of Credible Fear
A few commenters stated that the provisions of § 235.3(b)(4) for detention of aliens awaiting a credible fear determination are too harsh, and asked that the rule be amended to allow for parole of such aliens. However, because section 235(b)(1)(B)(iii)(IV) of the Act requires that an alien in expedited removal proceedings "shall be detained pending a final determination of credible fear of persecution and, if found not to have such a fear, until removed," the Department feels that parole is appropriate onl
y in the very limited circumstances specified in §235.3(b)(4). The interim rule has been amended, however, to clarify that aliens found to have a credible fear will be subject to the generally applicable detention and parole standards contained in the Act. Although parole authority is specifically limited while a credible fear determination is pending under § 235.3(b)(4), those found to have a credible fear and referred for a hearing under section 240 of the Act will be subject to the rule generally appli
cable to arriving aliens in § 235.3(c). In addition, § 235.3(c) has been amended to retain detention authority for aliens whose admissibility will be determined in exclusion proceedings after April 1, 1997.
Review of Credible Fear Determinations
The proposed regulation provides that an alien may receive, upon request, review by an immigration judge of an asylum officer's finding of no credible fear. A number of commenters requested that language be inserted in the interim regulation which presumes that an asylum officer's finding of no credible fear will be reviewed by an immigration judge unless the alien desires to abandon the review and return to his or her home country. If such a suggestion is not adopted, these commenters request that, at a
minimum, language be inserted requiring that the asylum officer advise the alien of his or her right to request review of the negative decision and requiring the officer to ask the alien whether he or she desires such review. The language of section 235(b)(1)(B)(iii)(III) of the Act clearly provides that the alien has the obligation to request review of a negative credible fear determination. The Department notes that § 208.30(e) of the proposed regulation requires the asylum officer to inquire whether
the alien wishes review of the negative credible fear determination. This provision is appropriated into Form I-589.
A number of commenters asked that the regulation provide that, whenever practicable, the credible fear review be conducted in person; that the alien may be assisted by an attorney or other representative; and that an interpreter be provided when necessary. Another commenter stated, however, that no counsel should be allowed in the review of credible fear determinations; rather, a representative should be allowed to submit a written statement. The Department recognizes the concerns raised by these comment
ers. However, because the proposed regulation sets forth a procedure for credible fear review that is consistent with the language of section 235(b)(1)(B)(iii)(III) of the Act and provides the Attorney General the flexibility to administer such a procedure, the rule was not changed.
One commenter asserted that the proposed regulation that provides for an alien who demonstrates a credible fear of persecution to be placed in removal proceedings under section 240 of the Act is incorrect. The commenter maintains that IIRIRA contemplates that such aliens will be limited to an "asylum only" hearing with an appeal to the Board. This portion of the regulation will not be changed in the interim rule. Section 235(b)(1)(B)(ii) of the Act provides that if an asylum officer determines that an al
ien has a credible fear of persecution, the alien "shall be detained for further consideration of the application for asylum. The remainder of section 235(b) of the Act is very specific as to what procedures should be followed if an alien does not establish a credible fear. However, the statute is silent as to the procedures for those who do demonstrate a credible fear of persecution. Once an alien establishes a credible fear of persecution, the purpose behind the expedited removal provisions of section
235 of the Act to screen out arriving aliens with fraudulent documents or no documents and with no significant possibility of establishing a claim to asylum has been satisfied. Therefore, the further consideration of the application for asylum by an alien who has established a credible fear of persecution will be provided for in the context of removal proceedings under section 240 of the Act.