When a person is detained by an immigration officer and expresses fear of returning to their country, they may be referred for a fear interview. The purpose of the interview is to determine if the person meets the minimum requirements to apply for asylum or withholding of removal from the United States.
If an asylum officer concludes that the applicant has a credible fear of persecution, the person will be referred to an immigration judge to continue their asylum case.
Questions in fear interview:
- personal information;
- reasons why the person fears returning to their country;
- who the person is running from or is afraid of;
- damages suffered or that may suffer if he is returned to his country.
If the person was not credible or could not establish that they actually suffered persecution, they will be expelled or removed from the United States. This is why it is very important that the person has been counseled before their fear interview.
Fear Interviews - Negative
If at the end of the fear interview the asylum officer concludes that the person could not establish that they have actually suffered persecution, they are at risk of being expelled from the United States.
However, the person may challenge the asylum officer’s decision before an immigration judge. The judge will review the case again. The person will have a second chance to explain, this time before the judge, the reasons why they fled their country. If the judge concludes that the applicant has a fear of persecution, the person will not be deported and will be given an opportunity to continue their asylum case.