Immigration Law for Asylum Seekers

For some being away from home can be lonesome. Some describe it as being a stranger in an island – but to others, it is a ticket to safety. This is why people from different countries, when they feel endangered and unsecured in their own land, opt to become immigrants. 

This is what you call asylum, a granted security to entities who demonstrates that they are unwilling or unable to return to their mother country for various reasons like fear of persecution due to socio-economic stands. One thing to be clear about: they are not criminals. Here’s what you should know about asylum seekers in the United States:

How Does It Work?

An asylum applicant can be divided into two types depending on their grounds. 

1.Affirmative Asylum Seeker

A non-citizen who seeks asylum in the United States, if affirmative, should be physically present in the country. This is legally possible if one, the seeker is already in the U.S. or two, at a port of entry to the state. The key point here is the seeker must show up and provide proof that he or she is indeed seeking asylum due. 

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) then reviews the asylum seeker’s claims through an interview with an asylum officer at any of their offices nationwide. He or she must complete Form I-589 that involves personal background about them, their family and the grounds of asylum (if there has been any domestic violence or threats given hindering him to return home). 

The officials may affirm that the seeker can be granted asylum or refer the applicant to Immigration Court for Removal Proceedings where they can continue the asylum application with an immigration judge.

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2. Defensive Asylum Seeker

If by chance the applicant is defensive indicative that they want to apply for asylum secondary to threat of removal by the Department of Homeland Security, the process is similar to an affirmative but it crosses out any non-adversarial interview and is referred directly to the Immigration Court. The seeker must file his application with jurisdiction and establish that persecution is possible if he is forced to return home.

Qualifications to be Granted Asylum 

An asylum seeker’s dilemma is to prove the U.S. Officials that they are truthfully escaping their home country due to threat or fear of persecution secondary to any of the following:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Political Stand or Opinion
  • Social Group Membership

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides these five criteria for granting asylum. The demographic criteria (race, religion, nationality) do grant higher possibility of grant since these are non-modifiable factors. However, for political stands and social group membership needs to be thoroughly explained. If the seeker’s grounds for asylum is heavily based from his or her political opinions, one must provide evidence that these expressions, literature or participation opposing his home land’s government causes severe threat to his security. 

For seekers due to social group membership, a plausible and valid reason should be defined since the grounds alone does not have enough weight to be granted. This is also a bit tough to prove since becoming a member to a social group, by Board of Immigration Appeals, is described as a group involving people sharing common intentions or characteristics. The social groups that could be granted asylum by United States include:

  • Ethnic Social Groups
  • Tribes
  • Social Classes 
  • Those persecuted for sexual preference
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Asylee Benefits in the United States

Once proven eligible and has been granted asylum, the asylee gains various benefits. One of these is permission to stay in the country not just for the asylee but could also be her family members. The asylee can request petition to bring the eligible family members to the U.S. Lastly, he or she can also file an application to become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR or Green Card Holder) and eventually, for U.S. Citizenship. For more information, find the nearest immigration lawyer today.


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