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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The difference between "credible fear" and "reasonable fear" interviews by ICE/DHS

From time to time we run into this question -- what is the difference between there two types of interviews? A recent question asked on an immigration board, to which we belong, is typical:
I have a detained client who received a positive reasonable fear determination. I checked the law, and I cannot find anything that states his bond eligibility. Anyone have any information on this?

ANSWER: A reasonable fear determination (as opposed to a credible fear determination) is the term used by DHS/ICE when the detained individual has a prior removal order that is not extinguished (still active). Although this was not mentioned in the above scenario, judging from the term used ("reaosnable fear"), I would guess that is the case. If it is, the judge lacks the authority to issue a bond.

The controlling provisions for bond/custody re-determination hearings are found at INA §236; 8 CFR §1003.19 and 1236.1. The bond hearing is separate and apart from the removal hearings pursuant to 8 CFR §1003.19(d).

The kicker is here: The immigration judge has no authority to review custody determinations if the alien has an administratively final order of removal or deportation. INA § 241; 8 C.F.R. § 1236.1(d)(1); Matter of Valles, 21 I&N Dec. 769, 771 (BIA 1997); Matter of Uluocha, 20 I&N Dec. 133, 134 (BIA 1989); Matter of Sio, 18 I&N Dec. 176, 177 (BIA 1981); Matter of Vea, 18 I&N Dec. 171, 173 (BIA 1981).

It should be noted that because a credible fear determination stems from an aliens status as "arriving," immigration judges also lack authority to grant bond to individuals who have a positive credible fear determination, whether or not ICE/DHS grants them parole or bond.

Do you have an immigration question? Call us! We can help. We are experienced in both immigration court defense, and forms based business and family adjustments. 1-800-579-9864 or

Hanover Law, PC
Offices in Fairfax, VA and Washington, DC
2751 Prosperity Ave, Ste 150
Fairfax, VA 22031
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Stephen Salwierak, Esq.
Charlet Herr, Practice Manager

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