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Immigration

Recommending changes on procedures for credible fear screening for immigrants

APA Services presses the Department of Homeland Security for increased role of psychologists during credible fear screening process.

Cite this
American Psychological Association. (2022, June 3). Recommending changes on procedures for credible fear screening for immigrants. https://www.apaservices.org/advocacy/news/fear-screening

On May 25, APA Services submitted comments in response to a Department of Homeland Security request for comments on its proposed interim final rule on “Procedures for Credible Fear Screening and Consideration of Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and CAT Protection Claims by Asylum Officers.” While the association’s comments recognized the department’s efforts to make the process more efficient, they also underscored the importance of giving immigrants sufficient time to prepare for their hearings and proceedings.

APA Services emphasized the importance of using psychologists’ expertise during the credible fear screening process, recognizing that border patrol officers, immigration enforcement officers, and immigration judges are rarely trained to make educated assessments of credible fear among immigrants. It is common for untrained observers to be confused and to ignore symptoms of an immigrant’s credible fear to return to their country while they are recounting traumatic experiences.

The association’s guidance also explained that an expedited timeline is problematic because it does not consider the manner in which trauma interferes with a person’s memory. APA Services stressed that, in cases where detention is necessary, it is also important to limit the time individuals are held because periods of long detainment lead to poor mental health. Finally, the association highlighted the importance of keeping families together during the screening process.

For more information, contact Serena Dávila.