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Hastings Law Journal

Abstract

Undocumented persons enter the United States every day. Even though many of them seek asylum, under a law passed by Congress in 1996, ninety-nine percent of undocumented persons are returned to their home countries through "Expedited Removal." Those who enter the United States are detained, often under horrible conditions and sometimes for years. When they finally appear before an immigration judge, many are denied entry because of alleged inconsistencies between their testimony before the judge and statements they originally made at the point of entry, even though their testimony and prior statements are often consistent.

This Note examines the practice of Expedited Removal in light of a congressionally-mandated study of the process by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (the USCIRF Study). The Article reviews the history and legislative intent of Expedited Removal, and examines significant problems with Expedited Removal at three stages in the process in light of recent changes in immigration law under the Real ID Act of 2005 as well as information released by the USCIRF Study.

This Note suggests that immigration courts should not base credibility findings on immaterial inconsistencies between an applicant's statements at the point of entry and her testimony before an immigration judge, or on omissions at the point of entry of certain details of an applicant's asylum claim. Further, this Note recommends that undocumented persons who have demonstrated a credible fear of persecution and who meet certain criteria be placed on parole in the United States rather than being held in detention.

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