on the way to brownsville

If the Asylum Officer issues a NEGATIVE credible or reasonable fear finding

A person for whom an Asylum Officer makes a negative credible or reasonable fear finding is entitled to review of that finding by a judge. The review is NOT a hearing. The lawyer does not get to ask questions; the judge asks all the questions. No lawyer for DHS/ICE is present.

The lawyer’s role is similar to her role in the credible or reasonable fear interview. She must listen carefully for misunderstandings, mistranslations, omissions, or ambiguous testimony. At the end of the judge’s questions, the judge MAY invite the lawyer to suggest further areas of inquiry. The judge may also allow the lawyer to make an extremely brief statement.

Although this review is far from full due process, judges DO reverse negative credible or reasonable fear findings. They will be curious about omissions or contradictions between what happens in this review and what the person said to the Border Patrol or to the Asylum Officer. But it IS possible to explain contradictions, or to challenge the reports made by the Border Patrol. (See the brief by Stephen Manning for AILA.)

If at all possible DO GO to the judicial review. Do not try to advocate your client over the phone: you will be far less effective. Go and be with your client.

If you intend to file anything with the court, make sure you provide copies to the Office of Chief Counsel for DHS/ICE, and attach a Certificate of Service to your filing. This step is necessary even though the review appears to be non-adversarial.

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