Graham to DHS Secretary: Change Initial Threshold Standard for Asylum Seekers to Final Adjudication Standard

( – Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) proposed Tuesday judging asylum seekers by the final adjudication standard when they first seek asylum in the United States.

“I have an idea for you. I want you just to entertain it. My time’s about up. The credible fear standard is the straining standard when somebody applies for asylum. Is that correct?” Graham asked DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the oversight of the Homeland Security Department.

MAYORKAS: Yes, it is.

GRAHAM: Okay. What’s the final adjudication standard?

MAYORKAS: Ranking member Graham, the credible fear standard is the initial threshold, and it is set by statute as a substantial likelihood of fear of persecution.

GRAHAM: So here’s my offer. What’s the final adjudication standard?

MAYORKAS: Forgive me – a significant possibility of persecution.

GRAHAM: Okay, here’s the final adjudication standard – reasonable possibility of suffering persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership and a particular social group or political opinion. That’s the final adjudication standard. What percentage of people who pass the initial screening standard are given asylum using the second standard?

MAYORKAS: Ranking member Graham, if I understand your question correctly, what is the let’s say average, because it changes by —

GRAHAM: If you have 100 passing the screening test of critical fear, how many of them are granted asylum through the adjudication process percentage wise?

MAYORKAS: It varies according to country of origin.

GRAHAM: I can tell you it’s averaging 10 percent, so 90 percent of the people that pass their credible fear standard never make it. Here’s the proposal: Why don’t we make the adjudication standard the initial screening standard. I’m willing to change the law with my Democratic friends. One or two things is happening. You’re denying 90 percent of people a legitimate claim, which I don’t believe or when you look at their claim, it’s an economic problem. 

It doesn’t meet the statutory definition. If you want to stop asylum seeking, change the standard, because once they get here, they never leave. So I’m willing to work with you. Are you willing to– final question, would you entertain changing the credible fear standard as a screening standard to the final adjudication standard?

MAYORKAS: Ranking member Graham, I would welcome the opportunity to work with you to reform clearly a broken immigration system.


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