Asylum is a type of protection which allows an individual to stay in the U.S. instead of being deported to a country where he or she fears persecution or harm. If the person can relocate and safely live within his or her home country, then he or she will not be able to show that they have a well-founded fear of persecution or harm. The key point here is that the individual must already be in the U.S. at the time of seeking Asylum.
Persecution is defined as acts that are meant to harass, punish, injure, oppress, or cause an individual to suffer psychological or physical harm.
The fear of persecution must be “well-founded” meaning that the individual seeking asylum will want to show that he or she has at least one in ten chances of experienced the specific harm. The fear of persecution or harm can be related to:
- Membership in a particular social group – A social group is a group that shares common characteristics that are so vital to their individual identities that the person cannot change them. Examples include being part of an ethnic group or tribe, social classes, etc
- Political Opinion – The person has certain opinions that the authorities won’t allow, such as being critical of the government’s policies. An individual person must show proof that the authorities know about his or her opinion. Examples of such include having spoken in public against the authorities, written public criticism against them, or participated in antigovernment protests.
To be determine if a person is eligible for asylee status in the U.S., he or she will need to prepare an application along with providing supporting documents evidencing his or claim. Supporting documents can include the person’s own testimony, witness statements, news reports discussing the current climate within his or her country, etc. Once a person is granted asylum, the asylee status allows him or her to stay in the U.S. indefinitely. Asylees can work legally and are allowed to apply for a green card within one year of either being approved for asylum.
Even with meeting the criteria mentioned above, the application for asylum can still be denied. Houston immigration attorney, Kirin Abbasi can assist in providing in-depth information on asylum protection, explain key requirements surrounding the asylee status, and help to determine eligibility and assistance with the application process.