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HOME > IMMIGRATION PRACTICE > CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE ACT (CAT)
Convention Against Torture (CAT) Act


What You Should Know​

Withholding of removal under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) is a type of legal protection some people may be able to get if they show that it is more likely than not that they would be tortured by the government or people working for or with the consent of the government if they were returned to a particular country. 

“Torture” is defined in Article 1 of the Convention Against Torture and at 8 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) sections 208.18(a) and 1208.18(a). Withholding of removal under the CAT is very much like withholding of removal under section 241(b)(3) of the INA in that, if you are granted this form of protection, it only means you cannot be sent back to the country where you face torture. However, there is no requirement that the feared torture be related to a protected reason, as is required for asylum or withholding of removal under section 241(b)(3) of the INA. If another country is willing to take you, the United States can send you there. Also, if conditions change in your country so that DHS believes it is safe for you to go back, DHS could start a new case in immigration court to try to convince a judge that you should be sent back. 

Finally, withholding of removal under the CAT does not get you permanent residence, does not allow you to bring your family, and does not lead to becoming a U.S. citizen. If the Immigration Judge finds that you are more likely than not to be tortured in a country if you are removed, but also finds that you are not eligible for withholding of removal under the CAT because of certain criminal convictions or other grounds for ineligibility, the judge may consider whether you are eligible for Deferral of Removal. 

Deferral of Removal under the Convention Against Torture is defined at 8 CFR sections 208.17(a) and 1208.17(a). Deferral of Removal does not give you any legal status in the United States and does not necessarily mean that you will be released from detention. Deferral of Removal may be terminated if after a review it is determined that it is no longer more likely than not that you would be tortured in the country to which your removal is deferred or if you request that your deferral be terminated.



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