You may have heard a lot of talk about asylum with the recent “refugee caravan” being discussed on the news seemingly around the clock. Asylum in the United States is intended for people who have fled their home countries and are afraid to return. There is a difference in seeking refugee status and asylum; if a person is outside of the U.S., then they are applying for refugee status. If the person has already made it to the border or even to the interior of the U.S., then they can apply for asylum status if they fear for their own safety and are unable to relocate and live safely in the country from which they migrated.
Either status allows the person to remain in the U.S. for an indefinite period of time. Both refugees and asylees are granted permission to work, and they are also allowed to apply for green cards. Green card applications must be filed within one year of entering the U.S. with refugee status or the approval of asylum.
Although it sounds fairly straightforward, the process of qualifying for asylum is not so cut and dry. Two things must be proven in order for asylum to be granted. First of all, the asylum seeker must have been persecuted in their home country or fear persecution upon their return. Secondly, the persecution must be due to their political opinions, membership in a specific social group, nationality, religion or race. Evidence of persecution is required in order for your request for asylum to be considered.
Immigration law in the U.S. does not provide examples of what is considered to be persecution, with the exception of being forced to undergo coercive population control. The requirements surrounding asylum have really evolved through case law. Persecution by definition means harassment, punishment, injury and oppression, or actions that cause someone to suffer either psychological or physical harm. Some of the reasons that immigration authorities have determined that foreign governments have persecuted asylum seekers in the past include:
- Firing weapons upon people involved in protests
- Imprisoning and torturing people with different political beliefs
- Acts of genocide targeting a specific race
- Acts aimed at a particular gender, such as forced female genital cutting or forced marriage
The foreign government does not have to be directly involved in the persecution. For instance, if a hate group attacks people of a certain race or ethnicity and the government fails to act to protect them, then this can also be seen as persecution.
You may be eligible for asylum if you can prove that you face persecution in your home country. We are staunch and unwavering advocates for those seeking residence in the United States. Contact our Salt Lake City immigration attorneys Familia America Immigration to discuss your case’s particulars and determine what evidence you need to support your request for asylum. Give us a call at 801-656-9605 or click here for a free, no-obligation consultation with our caring, compassionate and knowledgeable team.