INS Fact Sheet Expedited Removal
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US Department of Justice
Immigration and Naturalization Service


The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) created a new, formal process for deportation called expedited removal.  This process was established by Congress to remove certain inadmissible aliens from the United States. The law authorized the Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service to designate certain groups of individuals for placement in expedited removal proceedings.  Under expedited removal, individuals can be removed on an order issued by an INS officer.  The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) began implementing the expedited removal provisions of IIRIRA on April 1, 1997.

Experienced INS officers review the cases of people subject to expedited removal.  When an individual in expedited removal is found inadmissible, the officer may issue a removal order, and this order has the same weight as one issued by an immigration judge.  Before the removal order is issued, a senior-level supervisory immigration officer must review the decision.  People removed from the United States under expedited removal are barred from re-entry for a period of five years but can apply for a waiver.

Prior to implementing expedited removal, INS developed extensive, detailed regulations and procedures that go far beyond the statutory requirements to ensure fair and consistent application of the law.  These regulations, which were developed following public comment and input from various immigrant, legal and community-based groups, and the statute as enacted by Congress, form the framework under which INS administers the expedited removal process.

Since the implementation of expedited removal, only a very small percentage of people in the process have been asylum-seekers.  However, INS is committed to protecting the rights of aliens fleeing persecution and torture, and the expedited removal procedures have extensive safeguards designed to protect the rights of asylum seekers.  No alien can be expeditiously removed from the United States until they have read, and acknowledge they understand, a sworn statement and have been asked specific questions concerning whether they have a concern or fear of being returned to their home country.

Any alien who, in response to these questions, indicates intent to apply for asylum, or a fear of persecution, torture or return is referred for an interview with an INS asylum officer.  INS officers are directed to err on the side of caution, and refer any questionable cases to an asylum officer.  INS officers consider not only verbal indications of a fear of persecution but also consider non-verbal indications such as shaking, perspiration, sweating, hysteria and even silence.

Monitoring and Oversight

INS is committed to ensuring that all districts implement the appropriate expedited removal procedures in full compliance with the statute, accompanying regulations and field guidance.

  • INS Headquarters officials conduct weekly quality assurance reviews and contact field offices frequently in order to identify and correct any problems found in the expedited removal process.

  • In addition, headquarters officials conduct periodic field visits to observe and review operations and ensure they are consistent with applicable procedures.

  • Whenever necessary, additional field guidance is provided to clarify issues uncovered during the field visits and case reviews.


All immigration officers who conduct expedited removal proceedings have been trained in how to implement the statutory provisions and regulations.

  • INS officers must successfully complete an extensive basic training program and a one-year field training and probationary period.  All immigration officers receive training in the provisions of IIRIRA, including expedited removal.

  • All asylum officers undergo a basic training course in preparation for adjudicating asylum applications and a one-year field training and probationary period.  The training includes, among other topics, asylum law, current country conditions and interviewing skills, including techniques for interviewing individuals who may be survivors of torture. Asylum officers also receive specialized training in the credible fear legal standard and procedures. After initial training, asylum officers continue to receive ongoing training in these areas.

  • INS asylum officers also receive specialized training on handling asylum claims made by individuals who may have been victims of torture.

Asylum Claims - Ensuring Fairness

In its implementation of the expedited removal provisions of the law, INS is taking steps far beyond what is required in the statute and ensuring that aliens affected by expedited removal are treated fairly and that their rights are protected in the following ways:

  • INS conducts credible fear interviews in detention centers rather than at the point of arrest, allowing people at least 48 hours, and generally more, to rest and consult with someone before the credible fear interview.

  • Although not required by the statute, INS relies exclusively on its specially trained asylum officer corps to conduct non-adversarial credible fear interviews, thus ensuring that interviews are conducted by the officers who are the most thoroughly prepared and experienced in asylum law, in-country conditions abroad, and in proper asylum interviewing procedures and techniques.

  • INS ensures that all people subject to expedited removal are asked whether they have a fear of returning to their home country and are given notice of the opportunity to speak confidentially with another officer about their fear.

  • INS requires mandatory supervisory review of the decisions of both immigration and asylum officers before those decisions take effect.

  • Before persons have a credible fear interview, INS provides them with further information about the credible fear process and a list, updated quarterly, of local pro bono service providers and their telephone numbers.

  • People found to meet the credible fear standard are placed in removal proceedings before an immigration judge, to whom they may apply not only for asylum, but for other forms of relief as well.

- INS -

Prepared by the Office of Public Affairs (202) 514-2648

November 11, 2002

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