Homeland Security reissues immigrant asylum rules to officials as bids for US protection soar

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By ALICIA A. CALDWELL, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Homeland Security Department has reissued asylum rules to immigration officials amid concerns that they are misinterpreting how to decide which immigrants get to see a judge for asylum claims.

In a memorandum to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services asylum officers, the chief of the asylum division said immigrants seeking asylum must show a "significant possibility" that their claim for U.S. protection will be granted by an immigration judge.

The official, John Lafferty, said in his Feb. 28 memo that in order to meet that standard immigrants have to "demonstrate a substantial and realistic possibility of succeeding" in court.

Lafferty said the revised guidance was being issued because of a recent spike in asylum applications. The immigration agency saw a 250 percent increase in such cases between 2012 and 2013.

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