Acting USCIS Director Attempts to Change Legal Standard for Asylum by Memo

On July 26, 2019, Acting USCIS Director Kenneth Cuccinelli issued a memorandum to USCIS asylum officers, who are charged with interviewing asylum applicants and determining the merits of their cases.  In this memo, he instructed the asylum officers to ask additional questions of the applicant in order to determine whether internal relocation within the applicant’s home country is “possible.”  Under the applicable regulation, an applicant need only establish that internal relocation is not “reasonable.”

There is a world of difference between relocation being reasonable and it being possible. The Administration continues to play fast and loose with the law when it comes to immigration, and in this case, it is clearly to the great detriment of asylum applicants, as the Administration intended.

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