Credible Fear

Credible Fear is part of international refugee law. The credible fear interview is conducted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to determine whether a potential refugee or an asylum seeker demonstrate a credible fear of returning to his or her home country, and therefore qualifies for international protection. Nabila Salem, a young Yemeni woman, future hangs in the balance as she awaits the outcome of her refugee status determination case in Saudia Arabia.

Director’s Statement

Credible Fear is part of international refugee law. The credible fear interview is conducted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to determine whether a potential refugee or an asylum seeker demonstrate a credible fear of returning to his or her home country, and therefore qualifies for international protection. Credible Fear is about a Yemeni woman, Nabila Salem’s refugee status determination interview, conducted in Saudi Arabia.

The Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges wrote recurring themes of labyrinths, mirrors, and time, parables about the limitations of the imagination. Borges discussed the notion of the Inversion of Time in his short story, “An Examination of the Work of Herbert Quain”. It is a state in which we remember the future and know nothing, or barely feel a presentiment, of the past. The Inversion of Time is a fictional concept, but it feels real in the post-factual political world in which we now inhabit. The consequences of such a lack of historical context have kept the United States in a loop of political fatalism. The history of U.S. immigration law is rife with racist, xenophobic incidents and policies, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act. In the current political climate, this history and attempts to reverse the worst of the policies have once again been forgotten. The immediate relevance of the film is to Trump’s Executive Order 13769 that limited the number of refugees admitted into the United States, suspended entry into the country for 90 days from 7 Muslim countries, and suspended refugee admissions, thereby wreaking havoc on the precarious lives of refugees about to enter the country.