Forwarding of Asylum Applications to the Department of State
This final rule adopts without substantive change the proposed rule with request for comments published in the Federal Register on October 31, 2011, and includes several non-substantive, technical corrections. The Department of Justice (Department) is amending its regulations to alter the process by which the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) forwards asylum applications for consideration by the Department of State (DOS), Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Currently, EOIR forwards to DOS all asylum applications that are submitted initially in removal proceedings before an immigration judge. The final rule amends the regulations to provide for sending asylum applications to DOS on a discretionary basis. For example, EOIR may forward an application in order to ascertain whether DOS has information relevant to the applicant's eligibility for asylum. This change increases the efficiency of DOS' review of asylum applications and is consistent with similar changes already made by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS).