Reasonable Fear Screenings

Overview

Sections 238(b) and 241(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provide for streamlined removal procedures that prohibit certain individuals from contesting removability before an Immigration Judge and from seeking any relief from removal.  Generally, however, such aliens may not be removed to a country where they are more likely than not to be persecuted or tortured.

As such, if an individual ordered removed under either Section 238(b) or Section 241(a)(5) of the INA expresses a fear of return to the country to which he or she has been ordered removed, the case must be referred to an asylum officer, who will determine whether the individual has a reasonable fear of persecution or torture.  Those who are found to have a reasonable fear of persecution or torture are then given an opportunity to seek withholding of removal or deferral of removal before an Immigration Judge. Those found not to have a reasonable fear of persecution or torture may request that an Immigration Judge review the negative reasonable fear determination. If an individual does not request review by the Immigration Judge or the Immigration Judge upholds the negative determination, the individual may be removed from the United States.  If the Immigration Judge reverses the negative reasonable fear finding, the individual will be placed in proceedings before an Immigration Judge for a determination on eligibility for withholding or deferral of removal only.

For more information, see the "Reasonable Fear FAQ" link under the Related Links section to the upper-right.

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