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Asylum Officers conduct a credible fear of persecution or torture interview when a person who is subject to expedited removal expresses an intention to apply for asylum, expresses a fear of persecution or torture, or expresses a fear of return to his or her country.

Any person subject to expedited removal who raises a claim for asylum or expresses a fear of harm or return will be given the opportunity to explain his or her fears to an Asylum Officer.  Recognizing that some refugees may be hesitant to come forward with a request for protection at the time of arrival, immigration policy and procedures require DHS officers to ask each individual who may be subject to expedited removal the following series of questions to identify anyone who is afraid of return:

  • Why did you leave your home country or country of last residence?
  • Do you have any fear or concern about being returned to your home country or being removed from the United States? 
  • Would you be harmed if you were returned to your home country or country of last residence?
  • Do you have any questions or is there anything else you would like to add?

If the individual expresses a fear of return, the individual is detained, provided information about the credible fear process, and given a credible fear interview by an Asylum Officer.  If the individual who expresses a fear of return is arriving from Canada at a U.S.-Canadian land border port of entry, or is being removed from Canada and transiting through the United States, the APSO will conduct a Threshold Screening Interview pursuant to the Safe Third Country Agreement to determine whether the individual must seek protection in Canada instead of the United States. If the individual is eligible to seek protection in the United States, the APSO then will determine whether the individual has a credible fear of persecution or torture.  More information about the Threshold Screening pursuant to the Safe Third Country Agreement can be found in Chapter 5 of “A Partnership for Protection: Year One Review”.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 
10/15/2008