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Asylum in the United States

What is Asylum?

Asylum is legal protection granted to foreign nationals who fled their home country to avoid persecution they suffered, or that they would suffer if they were forced to return to their home country. In order to be eligible for asylum, an applicant must meet the definition of a refugee.

A refugee as someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their home country due to a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

What are the types of Asylum application processes?

Affirmative Asylum is a form of protection available to individuals who are already in the United States and who are not in a removal proceeding. The process for applying for affirmative asylum involves filing an application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), attending an interview with an immigration officer, and providing evidence of past or present persecution.

Defensive Asylum is a form of protection granted to individuals who are in removal proceedings and who are unable or unwilling to return to their home country due to fear of persecution. To apply for Asylum defensively applicants should file the application with an immigration judge at the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) in the Department of Justice.

Is there a deadline for Asylum application?

Both types of asylum applications (Affirmative and Defensive) must be filed within one year of the date of arrival in the United States. There are some exceptions to this rule. If an applicant could prove that there was an exceptional and extreme hardship, which prevented him or her from filing an asylum application within a year. In that case, an immigration judge may consider waiving the one year filing deadline for the applicant.

What factors may be considered when determining whether or not to grant Asylum?

In order to be granted asylum in the United States, an applicant must demonstrate that they have a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.  Persecution can manifest in various ways, including physical violence, arbitrary detention, torture, and extrajudicial killings. It can also involve destroying property or denying basic rights such as freedom of movement and access to education. In some cases, individuals may be denied accessing employment opportunities or face restrictions on their ability to practice their religion or culture. Persecution can even take the form of social exclusion and ostracism from one’s community. Applicants must also provide evidence to support their claims of persecution, such as documents or witness testimony. Furthermore, they must demonstrate that they are not barred from asylum due to certain criminal activities or security-related grounds. Lack of government protection is another factor to be considered for an Asylum application. Additionally, applicants must not have been firmly resettled in another country prior to arriving in the United States. Finally, asylum seekers must pass a credible fear interview and be found admissible to the United States before being granted asylum.

What benefit can you get if asylum is granted?

The most significant benefit of being granted asylum would be if approved, asylum seekers are given protection from deportation.  Also, those who are granted asylum status are allowed to remain in the United States and receive certain benefits, such as permission to work and access to medical care. They may also be eligible for a green card after one year of continuous presence in the U.S., allowing them to become lawful permanent residents. Additionally, those with asylum status may eventually be able to apply for U.S. citizenship if they meet all eligibility requirements.

It is important to note that not everyone who applies for asylum will be granted. Asylum applications involve very complex matters, and we strongly suggest that you utilize the services of a competent attorney.

At Tanner Law Offices, LLC, you will find compassionate attorneys who are knowledgeable about the Asylum application processes with USCIS and the Immigration Court. Please contact our office at 717-836-0471 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.