The U.S. Attorney General has statutory discretionary authority to admit any refugee who is not firmly resettled in a third country, who is determined to be of special humanitarian concern, and who is admissible as an immigrant. The Attorney General has delegated this authority to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (INS). In both overseas refugee processing and domestic asylum proceedings, BCIS has the statutory role of being the decision-maker, determining who meets the requirements for refugee status.
Within the BCIS , the Office of International Affairs, Refugee Branch, located in Washington, D.C., is responsible for oversight and management of the entire BCIS overseas U.S. refugee adjudication program. The overseas refugee processing is assigned by geographic location to the three District Offices, which are located in Rome, Mexico City, and Bangkok. The refugee interviews are conducted by BCIS officers, who are stationed in the three overseas district offices and numerous other sub-offices, and by domestic U.S. asylum officers who travel to overseas locations.