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Border Patrol Agents, Rather Than Asylum Officers, Are Interviewing Migrant Families for ‘Credible Fear’

A migrant mother walks with her two daughters on their way to cross the port of entry into the U.S. in this June 2018 photo. A 10-year-old Salvadoran girl who died in Department of Health and Human Services custody last September was identified Friday by a US Customs and Border Protection official as Darlyn Cristabel Cordova-Valle. (Credit: CNN)

A migrant mother walks with her two daughters on their way to cross the port of entry into the U.S. in this June 2018 photo. A 10-year-old Salvadoran girl who died in Department of Health and Human Services custody last September was identified Friday by a US Customs and Border Protection official as Darlyn Cristabel Cordova-Valle. (Credit: CNN)

Border Patrol agents, rather than highly trained asylum officers, are beginning to screen migrant families for “credible fear” to determine whether applicants qualify for U.S. protection, the Los Angeles Times has learned.

The first Border Patrol agents arrived last week to start training at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, the nation’s largest immigrant family detention center, according to lawyers working there and several employees at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The move expands the Trump administration’s push for Border Patrol agents to take over the interviews that mark the first step in the lengthy asylum process. Border Patrol agents began training to conduct asylum interviews in late April, but agents have now deployed to family detention facilities for the first time.

As a result, Border Patrol agents — law enforcement personnel who detain migrant families at the border — will also have authority to decide whether those families have a “credible fear” of being persecuted in their home countries.

Read the full story at LATimes.com.

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