According to the Associated Press, the Obama Administration said today that it will no longer detain asylum seekers who, in addition to other criteria, have displayed a credible fear of persecution in their home countries. According to the article:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement director John Morton says beginning Jan. 4, asylum seekers can temporarily enter the U.S. if they meet certain criteria. They must establish their identities, they cannot be dangerous or a flight risk, and they must have a credible fear of persecution or torture.

Currently, foreigners who come to the U.S. without valid documents can be immediately deported. Many are detained while their asylum requests are considered.