INS Fact Sheet Expedited Removal

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.

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

  • 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

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