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March 10, 2017

Credible Fear of Persecution and Torture

March 10, 2017

The Honorable Lori Scialabba
Acting Director
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20529

The Honorable John Lafferty
Chief, Asylum Division
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20529

Re: February 2017 Revised Lesson Plan: Credible Fear of Persecution and Torture

Dear Ms. Scialabba and Mr. Lafferty:

Human Rights First has provided pro bono legal representation, in partnership with many of the nation’s leading law firms, to refugees seeking asylum in the United States for over thirty-five years. I write to express Human Rights First’s concern that certain revisions included in the February 2017 Revised Lesson Plan relating to credible fear of persecution and torture are inconsistent with U.S. immigration law and put people at risk of return to persecution and torture in violation of U.S. treaty commitments. The revisions appear for example to shift the standard from the credible fear screening standard set by Congress to higher level standards applicable in full asylum hearings. We urge that the Lesson Plan be revised to restore the legal standards corresponding to the credible fear screening process, rather than the standards applicable to full asylum hearings.

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