Procedures for Asylum and Withholding of Removal

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The Department of Justice, or DOJ has just finalized its second set of asylum regulations in less than a week. This final rule, titled “Procedures for Asylum and Withholding of Removal,” which will take effect on Jan. 15, 2021, implements several procedures that will speed up asylum proceedings, making it more difficult for asylum seekers to find counsel and to win their claims.

The new rule will implement the following procedures prospectively (for applications filed after the effective date of the rule):

  • Requires immigration judges to reject asylum applications that have any blank boxes or where the applicant has not included proof of payment (assuming the EOIR fee rule on asylum applications goes into effect);
  • Requires anyone who has passed a credible fear interview or reasonable fear interview who will be placed in asylum or withholding-only proceedings (pursuant to last week’s asylum rules) to file their applications with the court within 15 days of the first hearing date; if the applicant misses this filing deadline, they forfeit their right to apply for relief.

The Rule claims that the following provisions are already the law and that the courts should, therefore, already be enforcing them:

  • Requires asylum applications to be adjudicated by immigration judges within 180 days of their filing; judges are only authorized to adjourn cases beyond the 180-day adjudication deadline in extraordinary circumstances;
  • Allows the immigration judge to submit their own evidence in asylum cases.

While it is likely that these rules will be challenged in federal courts, you should consider the Rule’s effect in your case. If you have any questions, feel free to contact our office for a low cost consultation.

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