In a previous blog and videos, we talked about what the credible fear interview is and what to expect when arriving at the border and trying to enter the United States without having the necessary documents to do so. The office has received countless calls asking for advice on how to behave and what to expect during the credible fear interview. In today's blog, we are going to delve into what to do during your credible fear interview. Remember that these tips are general since each case is different and personal circumstances are too.
As I mentioned before, the goal of the credible fear interview is to lay the foundations for your asylum claim. It constitutes the first barrier that you must overcome, and you have to demonstrate to the immigration officer that there is a high possibility of being able to present your asylum case in immigration court, and that you also have a credible and well-founded fear of being a victim of torture, arrest or aggressions in your country of origin, based on the categories to request asylum, or that you have already been a victim of similar actions by the authorities of your country.
The first question the immigration officer will ask you upon arrival at the border is whether you are afraid of returning to your home country. If you answer no, you will automatically be placed in deportation proceedings, if you answer yes, CBP will arrange an interview with the immigration officer.
You must have at least 48 hours to prepare for this interview, although if you wish, you can inform the officer that you do not wish to wait that long. During this interview, you will have the right to be represented by an attorney. A mistake that many immigrants make is to think that they will be assigned a public defender, and this is not the case. You have the right to be represented during this process, but immigration does not have a duty to provide you with representation. Immigration generally provides a list of pro-bono services for those who cannot afford to pay an attorney, and it is the immigrant's responsibility to find representation. If the immigrant does not wish to be represented, he can continue the interview without representation.
The interview could be done over the phone, or in person. If you do not speak English, an interpreter will be provided for you.
The first questions will be general, referring to your biographical information, and personal data. Subsequent questions will be in reference to whether or not you are afraid of returning to your country of origin. According to the reason given by the immigrant, the officer may ask questions based on the answers given. At some point during the interview the officer will ask if you have been threatened or have suffered injuries or damages due to your race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because you belong to a specific social group. This question is intended to establish the basis for your asylum claim.
It is very important that you remain calm, collected, and collected during this interview. Answer the questions that are asked and do not give too much information. Giving information that is not being requested could harm your case. If the questions are yes or no questions, answer with a yes or no, do not elaborate if it is not necessary. Have notes organized chronologically and be as specific as possible by relating the actions that are the basis of your fear. Do not make up episodes that did not happen or lie to the immigration officer. Lying to an immigration officer may prevent you from accessing the benefit you are requesting.
I am going to emphasize again the importance of this moment in the process. The credible fear interview is not only the one that opens the door for you to enter the United States, but also the first testimony you give about your case, so it is extremely important that you be consistent with what you testify throughout the process. The responses to this interview will be in writing and the immigration judge as well as the Department of Homeland Security will use your testimony throughout the process to determine whether you qualify for asylum.
If you need help, advice, or need an immigration attorney to represent you in your legal process and / or during your credible fear interview, call us today. We will evaluate your case for free. In Y. Morejon Attorney, P.A. your problem is our problem.