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“Passing” or “failing” a credible fear interview

By “passing,” we mean that an Asylum Officer had found that a person had demonstrated a significant possibility of establishing, at a full merits hearing, at least a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, OR a probability of torture in which the government participated or to which it acquiesced. (If the government is likely to participate in torturing a person, it doesn’t matter WHY. The likely torture does NOT need to be on one of the five factors.)

The credible fear standard is relatively low. See Lory D. Rosenberg, “Let’s Get Clear about Credible Fear,” August 9, 2013, IWL.COM. But DHS has tried to make it a tougher standard,Sara Campos and Joan Friedland, “Mexican American and Central American Asylum and Credible Fear Claims: Background and Context,” American Immigration Council May 21, 2014.

“Failing” such an interview means that the Asylum Officer failed to find a significant possibility that the person could establish a well founded fear of persecution in a full-fledged merits hearing.

There are lots of reasons that the officer could fail to find a “credible fear.” It could be that the officer
a) did not find the person believable;
b) did not think that what the person suffered amounted to “persecution”;
c) did not believe that the person suffered persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group


d) the person did not describe a fear of torture; or
e) that what the person described did not amount to torture; or
f) that what the person was afraid of, even if “torture” in a usual sense wasn’t torture under the Convention Against Torture because it would be by government officials or with the acquiescence of government officials.

Forward to What does it mean to “pass” or “fail” a reasonable fear interview?
Forward to If the Asylum Office issues a positive credible fear finding
Forward to If the Asylum Office issues a negative credible or reasonable fear fear finding
Forward to Ask the Asylum Office to reconsider its finding
Back to Credible & reasonable fear interview table of contents


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