The Trump administration is considering making changes to the first steps in the asylum application process in order to reject more asylum seekers, NBC News reported Tuesday.
According to unnamed sources who spokes to NBC News, White House adviser Stephen Miller has advocated for Customs and Border Protection agents, who are housed within the Department of Homeland Security, to perform so-called “credible fear” interviews for asylum seekers, rather than officers from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services performing the interviews.
In the report’s words, Miller “has argued that Customs and Border Protection agents will be tougher on asylum seekers and will pass fewer of them on the initial screening.”
Currently, asylum seekers subject to deportation who express fear of returning to their home countries are interviewed to determine “credible fear” by asylum officers from USCIS, which is also housed in DHS.
If the officers determine an asylum seeker has a “significant possibility” of convincing a judge that they are eligible for asylum, they’re given a court date, which could be months or years away.
The Trump administration has urged Congress to pass laws allowing them to detain all asylum seekers, including children, for the entire course of their immigration proceedings.
On Monday, a judge issued a preliminary ruling against another practice employed by the Trump administration to keep asylum seekers out of the United States: forcing them to wait in Mexico until they are given an opportunity to make their case.