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What is a credible fear screening?

According to HumanRightsFirst.org, the credible fear screening process was developed to allow illegal immigrants with legitimate fears about their home countries to apply for asylum when subject to expedited removal. This process allows a person to provide evidence of possible threats, but also looks at their background to determine whether they're considered an acceptable candidate for asylum. 

For instance, people with certain backgrounds are barred from receiving asylum no matter the circumstances they face in their home country. Participating in terrorist activity or a group, or persecuting others will prevent a person from being granted asylum. Criminal activity is another factor looked at. If the person has a criminal record in their home country related to a non-political crime or was convicted of a crime in the U.S., he or she may be barred from receiving asylum. 

While these criteria are relatively cut and dry, it's not always easy to determine a person's conduct in their home country and whether they pose a legitimate safety threat in the U.S. For example, a person may have been pressured into committing certain acts out of fear of punishment. A person may have also protested against the poor practices of a government only to be labeled as a terrorist. Legal assistance is crucial in this case, and asylum seekers will be provided information on free or low-cost legal help. 

The asylum seeker will also need to show evidence to establish that this fear of persecution is indeed credible. If evidence is available, the person will be permitted to present it. However, in some cases, it may be impossible to procure evidence. If so, the person seeking asylum will be asked to testify about their beliefs and why their home country is unsafe. 

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