Asylum in the United States

The U.S. recognizes the right of asylum as specified by international and federal law and admits a specified number of legally defined refugees annually. Refugees amount to about a tenth of the total immigration to the U.S., though some populations are very prominent. Since the Second World War, more refugees have relocated in the U.S. than in any other nation, more than two million since 1980. From 2005 through 2007, the number of asylum seekers entering the U.S. was about 48,000 each year compared with about 30,000 for the UK and 25,000 for Canada. The U.S. has accounted for 15 to 20 percent of all asylum-seeker acceptances in the member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in recent years.

Understanding Asylum

Asylum protects individuals actually threatened by political and religious persecutions in their countries of origin. To qualify for asylum, there are tests that applicants must pass. Anyone who is interested in pursuing an asylum case needs to work with an experienced immigration lawyer. However, even if you are not an attorney, you should know a thing or two about asylum. This article will go over the basics of asylum and provide you with tips for ensuring the best results for your case.

The Asylum Process

First, they must show that their fear of persecution is well-founded in fact. Neither immigration laws nor court state any bright-line determinant for what is well-founded; it must be, however, something more than mere speculation. Those who fail to meet this general threshold requirement cannot qualify for asylum so defined.

The second part of the asylum process requires the applicant to be already within the United States (USA) or at a port of entry. If not, they cannot apply for asylum but may qualify for other protections, as a refugee for example.

Even if an individual meets both of these tests, actual threat of persecution and presence in the USA, there still may be reasons to deny asylum, some on procedure and others for national security.

The Importance of Procedure

Procedural reasons relate to the application process. Applications for asylum must be filed within one year of the applicant’s most recent entry into the USA, and applications must be complete. Unless the applicant can qualify for a limited exception, failure to file on time or to provide all necessary information precludes asylum.

Agreements and Prior Applications

International agreements and prior applications also can affect decisions on whether to grant asylum. For example, if it has an agreement with a third country that also protects the asylum seeker, the USA may deny that applicant asylum for the reason of availability elsewhere. A previous denial of an application for asylum may affect the fate of a later filing.

Being Viewed as a Threat

If the applicant for asylum generally qualifies and completes all procedural requirements, a national security concern still may be reason to deny the application. If convicted of serious crimes, the applicant could be a danger to American national security. If ever a member of any group that has threatened the USA in any way, the applicant may be denied asylum.

A Criminal Record Doesn’t Always Disqualify You For Asylum

Not all criminal convictions preclude asylum. Part of the application process requires all criminal history details. Any omissions from the history make the application incomplete and subject to technical denial even if the history omitted would not have disqualified the applicant. For this reason, asylum seekers with criminal convictions should contact our office to inquire about their eligibility.

Always Comply With Procedures

The bottom line is that those who do not comply with procedural or statutory requirements or who pose security risks cannot be granted asylum unless some limited exceptions to their exclusion apply. Sensible asylum seekers consult with immigration attorneys before filing their applications. Their consultations help them to identify potential problems and to consider practical solutions.

Don’t Pursue Asylum Alone!

Asylum cases are typically very complex and require a thorough working knowledge of federal statute. The reality is, individuals who pursue an asylum case without the assistance of a legal professional will most likely not be successful. If you are interested in hearing more about asylum for you or a loved one, call Pride Immigration Law Firm PLLC today or contact us online to ask a question.

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Beeraj Patel, Esq.

Partner at KPPB Law
Beeraj Patel's philosophy is simple - make it easy for talented and ambitious individuals to have access to immigration materials so that they can make the choice which is right for them.
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