The United States immigration system may force those involved to undergo extremely long periods of waiting. Some people wait as long as 20 years for their priority date to come up. However, there are ways to get onto a different track in order to expedite the process. One of these ways is a need to claim asylum, or refugee status.
U.S. asylum law is patterned after the definition of a refugee, established by the Geneva Convention. (Some people confuse being an asylee with being a refugee, when both categories exist in U.S. law. The only difference is where one applies: an asylum claim is made within the U.S., while a refugee claim is made outside the country.) The relevant text states that to qualify as an asylee or refugee, someone must have a “well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”
To apply for asylum in the U.S., there are certain requirements a person must meet. They are:
The important thing to note here is that your immigration status is irrelevant when you are applying for asylum. If you are in the country illegally, that will not be an immediate presumption toward denial of asylum. The path toward asylum, however, will be slightly different if you are in removal proceedings, or if you are not. If you are in removal proceedings, an immigration judge will decide the merits of your application. However, if you are in valid status, a USCIS officer will make that decision at an interview. Interviews are usually conducted within 43 days of the receipt of your completed I-589 (Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal).
Question of Persecution
The crux of an asylum application is the question of persecution. Applicants must demonstrate past persecution (physical, mental, or emotional) on one or more of the grounds in the Geneva Convention definition, or they must demonstrate a well-founded fear of future persecution based on those grounds. They must also demonstrate that this fear is what prevents their return to their home country.
Past persecution can be established by evidence of acts committed against the applicant either by the government, or by a group that the government is unwilling or unable to control. If this cannot be established, the applicant may be able to establish the fear of future persecution if they demonstrate both subjective and objective fear; that is, if they provide proof they genuinely fear persecution, as well as information showing the current dangerous climate in their home country.
Contact a DuPage Attorney for Help
Mevorah Law Offices LLC in DuPage County, Illinois can help with the often difficult and trying immigration process in the United States. If you need help with an asylum claim, please do not hesitate to call us today.
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