Immigrants facing expedited removal proceedings in the United States, but fearing persecution for their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group, may be eligible to seek asylum through the defensive asylum process. As a part of this asylum request process, applicants are subject to a “credible fear interview” with an asylum officer. The officer will determine whether “the applicant has a credible fear of persecution or torture” and if the applicant has a significant possibility of winning a case for asylum in front of an immigration judge, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
An asylum interview is required as part of the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 8. The credible fear determination is a screening process, not a decision on whether they will receive asylum. If an asylum officer finds that the applicant has a credible fear of persecution, the individual will be referred to an immigration judge for a full hearing on their claim.