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DHS/USCIS RIN: 1615-AB89 Publication ID: Fall 2013 
Title: Exception to the Persecution Bar for Asylum, Refugee, and Temporary Protected Status, and Withholding of Removal 
Abstract: This joint rule proposes amendments to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) regulations to describe the circumstances under which an applicant will continue to be eligible for asylum, refugee, or temporary protected status, special rule cancellation of removal under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act, and withholding of removal, even if DHS or DOJ has determined that the applicant's actions contributed, in some way, to the persecution of others when the applicant's actions were taken when the applicant was under duress. 
Agency: Department of Homeland Security(DHS)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 8 CFR 1    8 CFR 207    8 CFR 208    8 CFR 240    8 CFR 244    8 CFR 1001    8 CFR 1208    8 CFR 1240   
Legal Authority: 8 USC 1101    8 USC 1103    8 USC 1158    8 USC 1226    PL 107-26    PL 110-229   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: This rule resolves ambiguity in the statutory language precluding eligibility for asylum, refugee, and temporary protected status of an applicant who ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of others. The proposed amendment would provide a limited exception for actions taken by the applicant under duress and clarify the required levels of the applicant's knowledge of the persecution.

Summary of the Legal Basis: In Negusie v. Holder, 129 S. Ct. 1159 (2009), the Supreme Court addressed whether the persecutor bar should apply where an alien's actions were taken under duress. DHS believes that this is an appropriate subject for rulemaking and proposes to amend the applicable regulations to set out its interpretation of the statute. In developing this regulatory initiative, DHS has carefully considered the purpose and history behind enactment of the persecutor bar, including its international law origins and the criminal law concepts upon which they are based.

Alternatives: DHS did consider the alternative of not publishing a rulemaking on these issues. To leave this important area of the law without an administrative interpretation would confuse adjudicators and the public.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: The programs affected by this rule exist so that the United States may respond effectively to global humanitarian situations and assist people who are in need. USCIS provides a number of humanitarian programs and protection to assist individuals in need of shelter or aid from disasters, oppression, emergency medical issues, and other urgent circumstances. This rule will advance the humanitarian goals of the asylum/refugee program, and other specialized programs. The main benefits of such goals tend to be intangible and difficult to quantify in economic and monetary terms. These forms of relief have not been available to individuals who engaged in persecution of others under duress. This rule will allow an exception to this bar from protection for applicants who can meet the appropriate evidentiary standard. Consequently, this rule may result in a small increase in the number of applicants for humanitarian programs. To the extent a small increase in applicants occurs, there could be additional fee costs incurred by these applicants.

Risks: If DHS were not to publish a regulation, the public would face a lengthy period of confusion on these issues. There could also be inconsistent interpretations of the statutory language, leading to significant litigation and delay for the affected public.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  09/00/2014 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Related Agencies: Joint: DOJ; 
Agency Contact:
Ronald W. Whitney
Deputy Chief, Refugee and Asylum Law Division
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Office of Chief Counsel, 20 Massachusetts Avenue, NW.,
Washington, DC 20529
Phone:415 293-1244
Fax:415 293-1269

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