Training of Asylum Officers

by David L. Cleveland

How good is the training that is provided to asylum officers?

This is of great interest to the Louise Trauma Center.

In response to a FOIA request, we were informed:

US-CIS has seven “Directorates.” One of them is the Refugee, Asylum & International Operations [RAIO] Directorate.

A publication dated June 10, 2019 is entitled:

”RAIO Directorate Officer Training Handbook.” There are four “courses” in that handbook:

1] RAIO Combined Training Program: for all new officers

2] Refugee Affairs Division Officer Training Course

3] Asylum Division Officer Training Program

4] International Operations Division Training Course

The Asylum Division training includes a 30-hour “distance” segment and a 13-day “face-to-face” segment.

As of June 2019, Joyce A. Stadnick was “Chief, RAIO Training.” She sent memos to “Asylum Field Office Training Officers.”

It is the “policy” of the Asylum Division that each asylum office should use four hours each week for training. However, the Division imposes no “requirements or expectations” for those four hours.

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Louise Trauma Center received many redacted pages in response to its FOIA request. However, the following were released in full:

Matter of Mogharrabi, 24 I&N Dec. 123 (BIA 1987)(An alien’s own testimony may be sufficient, even without corroboration)

Matter of Vides Casanova, 26 I&N Dec. 494 (BIA 2015)(high-ranking official in El Salvador was found to have “participated” in torture)

Kadia v. Gonzales, 501 F.3d 817, 821 (7th Cir. 2007)(There is a difference between material lies and trivial inconsistencies. Falso in uno, falso in omnibus [false in one thing, false in all things) is a discredited, false doctrine)

Comments of the author

Matter of Mogharrabi, 24 I&N Dec. 123 (BIA 1987)is often cited in other training materials and in court cases. It is mentioned in K.S. v. Att’y Gen., 2022 WL 39868, at *2 (3d Cir. Jan. 5, 2022)

There are judges who disagree with the Seventh Circuit, concerning falso in uno, falso in omnibus: Etemadi v. Garland,, 12 F.4th 1013, 1040 (9th Cir. 2021) (dissent of Judge Smith)

US-CIS is “bound by their own policies, including those found in manuals,” and in Training Modules. Doe 1 v. Mayorkas,  530 F. Supp. 3d 893, 905(N.D. Cal. 2021).

About The Author

David L. Cleveland was the Chair of the AILA Asylum Committee [2004-05] and has secured asylum or withholding for persons from 48 countries. Based in Washington DC, he is available at

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.