For non-U.S. citizens who have fled their countries of origin due to fear of prosecution or because of a threat to their physical safety, U.S. immigration law offers them an opportunity to seek asylum in the United States. Asylum serves to protect applicants from facing imminent human rights violations and allows the United States to serve as a safe refuge from harm.
The Department of Homeland Security takes asylum matters very seriously and operates under a stringent set of guidelines. The stakes are especially great for refugees applying for asylum. For help with increasing the chances that your application would be granted, contact a Montgomery asylum lawyer. An experienced immigration attorney can examine your unique situation and help clarify the laws surrounding asylum in the United States.
What is Asylum?
Asylum is a legal status that offers refugees the freedom of remaining in the United States when they would normally not legally be able to do so. Refugees must be able to prove they are either unwilling or unable to return to their home countries due to a real fear of being persecuted on the basis of race, religion, nationality, membership of a certain social group, sexual orientation or political opinion.
Mere economic hardship, no matter how severe, is not sufficient grounds for obtaining asylum status. Applicants who meet the criteria for asylum must also be able to prove they are not in violation of any immigration laws that would bar them from seeking asylum in the United States. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 208, such reasons include:
What is the Difference Between Affirmative Asylum and Defensive Asylum?
Applicants who are already in the United States and are hoping to remain may apply for affirmative asylum. Applicants must file for affirmative asylum within one year of their arrival to the United States. For asylum seekers who are outside the United States and who do not hold a valid visa for entry into the United States, they must claim asylum at a port of entry. This process is known as Defensive Asylum.
Defensive asylum-seekers may be required to present their case before an immigration judge at the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). If an applicant has received a denial on their affirmative asylum application, they may begin the defensive asylum process.
Benefits for Asylum Seekers
Once asylum is granted, applicants are eligible for refugee program benefits. Such benefits can include cash assistance, medical assistance and social services. Refugees are eligible to apply to obtain legal permanent resident (LPR) status after one year of residing in the United States.
Immediate relatives, such as the refugee’s spouse and unmarried children, may also be eligible to lawfully enter or remain in the United States under the parent or spouse’s asylum status. If they are already in the United States, the applicant may include them in the application. If they are residing outside the United States, the refugee may apply for them to follow later to the United States. To do so they would need to apply for VISAS 92 (v-92). These family members are also eligible for refugee program benefits from the date of their entry into the United States.
Contact a Montgomery Asylum Attorney for Assistance
The process for seeking asylum in the United States is complicated but the rewards are great. If you are a refugee seeking asylum for yourself or are petitioning for asylum on behalf of your spouse and unmarried children, having a Montgomery asylum lawyer on your side to guide you through the process is vital.
Contact an experienced asylum attorney today for a consultation.