Asylum provides safe haven in the US to an individual seeking protection from persecution in their home country. The applicant must be unwilling or unable to return to his/her home country because of past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution on account of at least one of these bases: race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, political opinion.
Establishing Proof of Persecution:
THE APPLICANT MUST SUBMIT EXTENSIVE DOCUMENTATION TO ESTABLISH THAT PERSECUTION RESULTED DIRECTLY FROM ONE OF THESE GROUNDS AND NOT FROM PRIVATE DISPUTES.
Membership in a Particular Social Group: Membership in a particular social group must be based upon an immutable characteristic such as sex, race, or sexual orientation. To establish this ground, you must submit documentation that the group has a discernible identity, you are a member of that group, and the group is persecuted as a result of its distinguishing characteristic(s).
Political Opinion: Persecution on the basis of political opinion can be established where the applicant demonstrates an actively and openly-held opinion in opposition to those in a position of authority, or where the person has been persecuted by virtue of an “imputed opinion.”
Other Factors: Persecution is not limited to physical abuse or torture. Denial of education and employment opportunities, arbitrary inferences with the individual’s family members, and restrictions on an individual’s rights amounting to a “threat to life or liberty,” define persecution. On the other hand, general conditions of hardship and criminal prosecution for violating a nation’s laws do not constitute persecution under the immigration laws.
Past Persecution: Evidence of past persecution is grounds for an asylum claim unless a change of circumstances indicates that no fear of future persecution is warranted. A simple assertion of past persecution is insufficient, and the applicant will be required to provide extensive documentation including any injuries, threats of violence, and restrictions.
Future Persecution: A “well-founded fear of future persecution” is a ground for seeking asylum. A “well-founded fear” requires proof that a reasonable likelihood exists that the persecution will occur on the basis of your race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or inclusion in a particular social group. The government, or those whom the government cannot or will not control, must be the persecutor. And you must show that you cannot relocate inside your country to avoid the persecution.
CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS ARE AUTOMATICALLY PRECLUDED FROM SEEKING ASYLUM EVEN IF THEY MEET THE REQUIREMENTS ABOVE. THESE INCLUDE INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE:
Participated in the persecution of others.
Been convicted of a serious crime or a serious nonpolitical crime outside the US.
Been terrorists or endanger security in the US.
Been offered permanent resident status or citizenship in another country.
Failed to file the application within one year of entering the US (certain exceptions may apply).
What are my next steps?
It is extremely hard to grant an asylum from either DHS or an Immigration Judge. We strongly urge that you have your asylum claim evaluated by an attorney with deep asylum experience. The attorneys at Antonini & Cohen have over a century’s worth of combined experience in filing and defending asylum claims before DHS and in deportation proceedings for applicants from every corner of the world.
When it comes to asylum, we know how. Call us.
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