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Mevorah Law Offices LLC
630-932-9100
DuPage County Attorneys

LOMBARD

900 E. Roosevelt Road, Lombard, IL 60148

Phone: 630-932-9100

BLOOMINGDALE

134 N. Bloomingdale Road, Bloomingdale, IL 60108

Phone: 630-529-4761

CHICAGO

105 W. Madison Street, Suite 2200, Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 630-932-9100

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1730 Park Street, Suite 202, Naperville, IL 60563

Phone: 630-420-1000
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in applying for asylum

b2ap3_thumbnail_asylum_20200302-173025_1.jpgThe United States proudly labels itself “the land of the free and the home of the brave” and this tagline is fairly well known throughout the world. Because of this statement and the numerous rights that American citizens are granted, many foreigners look to the United States as a safe harbor when they need it most. Many will apply for immigration while others will seek asylum on American soil. Knowing the difference and understanding the application process can save individuals from experiencing further difficulties and persecution abroad.

What Is Asylum?

Individuals seeking asylum are looking for protection from a threat of persecution or if they were persecuted in the past. This is typically in regards to their race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group, and/or political opinion. These are often protected rights that we take for granted as Americans but that many foreigners are not given. Those seeking asylum are known as refugees or asylees. These individuals have been forced to flee their own county due to persecution, war, or violence.

Legal Steps for Seeking Asylum

There are two ways in which an individual can apply for asylum in the United States: the affirmative asylum process or the defensive asylum process. Those who choose to use the affirmative asylum process must be physically present in the United States and must do so within one year of arriving in the country. A U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer will view their application and decide whether or not they will be granted asylum. Those who are denied and have an expired visa can defer to the defensive asylum process as their alternative.

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IL immigration lawyerA division of the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the federal agency that monitors lawful immigration to the United States. This includes the process that allows foreign nationals to work in the United States. Some of the opportunities are temporary, and some provide a path to a Green Card or lawful permanent residence (LPR) status. Recently, the USCIS proposed regulations to deter aliens from entering the country illegally by filing fraudulent or invalid applications for asylum in order to obtain U.S. work authorization.

Who Can Receive U.S. Employment Authorization?

The United States offers numerous employment opportunities in all kinds of industries. That is why many people who are from a foreign land wish to work in this country. To do so legally, a person must have one of the following:

  • Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)
  • Employment Authorization Document (work permit)
  • Employment-related visa to work for a specific employer

What Will the Proposed Rule Do?

Under the proposed rule, the USCIS plans to enhance protections for those aliens with legitimate asylum claims. USCIS also seeks to prevent aliens with criminal records from obtaining employment authorization before their asylum applications are settled. The new rule aims to bolster the standards that permit an alien to be employed on the grounds of a pending asylum application.

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IL immigration lawyerNot all members of the same family are born in the same country. In many cases, parents choose to immigrate to the United States from another country as a way of escaping religious persecution and to provide their family with new opportunities and a better life. Many of these immigrants come to our country for employment through work visas or permits. Recently, however, the Trump administration released a proposal to restrict the number of work permits given to asylum seekers.

What Is a U.S. Work Permit?

A work permit is a photo identity card issued by USCIS. It is also called an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The EAD looks similar to a U.S. driver’s license. Those immigrants who possess an EAD can show it to prospective employers as proof of their right to work in the country for a specified amount of time. The other documents that allow an alien to work in the United States include a Green Card, also known as a Permanent Residence Card, or an Employment-based Visa. Every employer in the United States must request proof of a new employee’s immigration status or right to work. Companies that violate this rule can face repercussions.

Purpose and Procedures of the Proposal

U.S. immigration officials say limiting these work permits would deter those immigrants who enter the country purely for economic reasons. It would also automatically disqualify those asylum seekers who have been arrested or convicted of felony offenses.

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IL immigration lawyerThe topic of immigration has been in the news a lot lately. Just recently, President Trump announced the United States and Mexico agreed on a plan involving South American migrants seeking asylum in the United States. Under the terms of the agreement, these immigrants will wait in Mexico until their hearing dates in U.S. immigration courts. It could take several months or even years for their claims to be adjudicated. During their stay, they will be granted rights and access to jobs, medical care, and education. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the plan is called “Remain in Mexico.” Proponents of the agreement believe it will help with the inflow of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, but whether that is true remains to be seen.

Immigration Crisis

Prior to reaching this new agreement, the United States government had threatened to impose tariffs on Mexican goods coming into our country. This was in response to the overwhelming number of immigrants flooding the U.S.-Mexico border. Currently, people seeking asylum at the U.S. border are sometimes sent to detention centers, temporary shelters, or tent cities while they await processing of their claims. A lack of facilities and resources on the Mexican side caused a crisis situation. If there is not enough room, migrants can be released into the United States, where local charities offer help, but those resources also can become strained with the sheer number of people. That is why President Trump urged Mexico to adopt new policies.

Caravans with thousands of immigrants from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador seek asylum at the U.S. border every month. Previously, President Trump had wanted people fleeing violent conditions in their homeland to seek asylum in the first country they step foot in. Under the new DHS policy, they will not be required to seek asylum in Mexico first.

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IL immigration lawyerThe Trump administration is debating whether or not to “ban entry of migrants” at the U.S.’s southern border, in a manner similar to the “travel ban” enacted in January 2017. This is in reaction to the so-called “migrant caravan” currently making its way through Mexico - similar groups have tried and succeeded to reach the U.S. border, with a more organized group making it to Tijuana in April 2018. What the administration does not appear to understand - or care about - is that asylum is an ancient right enshrined not only in U.S. law, but in international law, and to flout it may bring serious issues to their doorstep. For immigrants and asylees here, it may throw their futures into sharp uncertainty.

Seeking Asylum Is Not Illegal

Despite the fondest wishes of the current president, seeking asylum is not illegal; quite the contrary. The right to seek freedom from persecution is a right that dates back to the Biblical era, though it most commonly is brought up in discussing the policies of the medieval Catholic Church. Even murderers were permitted to seek sanctuary in certain church properties in the United Kingdom, though the system was eventually abolished in the country (along with the Catholic Church) in the 17th century.

In the modern era, the right to seek asylum was one of the centerpieces of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, as well as being explicitly enshrined in the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (which the U.S. did not sign, despite it being the seminal authority on refugee issues) and the 1967 Protocol on the same topic (which it did). Asylum is an internationally recognized right, even extending beyond the original definition to victims of domestic violence (before the current administration rescinded it), to sexual minorities and more people who need the help. To unilaterally shut down the right to seek political asylum would be in violation of international law.

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