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Since implementing an asylum ban rule to unlawfully bar people from seeking protection in the U.S. based on how they arrived at the border, the Biden administration has launched additional policies to punish people who request asylum after entering the United States between ports of entry. Claiming to “enhance” expedited removal, a 1990s policy that requires asylum seekers to pass an initial screening before they can speak to an immigration judge, the Biden administration has created new programs with dizzying speed and punitive conditions.

Graphic with FERM summary text. Visit:

Asylum Screening Interviews in CBP Jail

In spring 2023, the Biden administration began forcing people to undergo their initial asylum screenings while in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) jails.

Under this policy, people who fled their homes in search of safety are forced to recount their trauma to immigration officers during a credible fear interview that takes place within hours or days of arriving at the U.S. border. This interview is the threshold screening to determine asylum eligibility, and a denial can result in immediate deportation.

Despite the high stakes, the government regularly forces people to go through these interviews, often in a language they don’t understand, without an attorney to help them understand complex laws. As a result, the U.S. government is inevitably returning people to persecution or death.

Graphic with FERM history text. Visit:

Family Expedited Removal Management Program

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Family Expedited Removal (FERM) program puts parents and children who are apprehended at the U.S. border into a rapid screening process that keeps families under heavy surveillance. 

Borrowing from the carceral and criminal probation system, ICE requires one parent to wear an ankle monitor and remain confined in their home at night.

After being released from CBP detention, families must appear at the asylum office for their credible fear screening within days of their arrival at their destination city. If their screening outcome is negative, they may have up to one additional week to seek review by an immigration judge. If the judge affirms the Department of Homeland Security's negative screening decision, the family must soon report to an ICE office for deportation – usually within a week. 

Because of the rapid timeline of FERM proceedings, the vast majority of families are unable to consult with an attorney to understand their rights before they face deportation. Parents, forced to recount traumatic events in front of their small children and usually without any legal support, are regularly failing screenings despite having valid asylum claims under U.S. law. FERM also forces Indigenous families to go through these screenings without interpreters, rushing them through an interview they don’t understand.

Graphic with FERM history text. Visit:

There is a better way

Under U.S. law, people have a right to seek asylum no matter how they arrive at the border.

People flee violence and suffering because the risks of fleeing pale in comparison to the dangers they will face if they stay. Unfortunately, both screenings in CBP jails and FERM are deportation programs that set asylum seekers up to fail, not to provide a fair chance at safety.

Instead, the Biden administration should focus resources on supporting civil society, including state and city governments, to provide respite, shelter, and the social and legal services people seeking asylum need to thrive in their new communities.

Graphic with FERM history text. Visit:

Take Action

Call members of Congress and encourage them to support people seeking asylum by opposing the Biden administration's so-called "enhanced expedited removal" programs. 

Explain what these policies really are: rapid deportation programs that betray U.S. humanitarian values of providing refuge for people fleeing persecution and harm.

Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121
Ask to be connected with your senator’s or House representatives’ offices

Graphic with FERM history text. Visit:

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