Asylum: People from Around the World Come to the United States to Ask for Protection from Persecution

January 11, 2015 3:45 pm
by David Jakeman

How to qualify for Asylum:

Masses of people come to the United States every year and request protection from past or future persecution. In order for the government of United States to give a person requesting Asylum, the requestor has to show that there exists a “well-founded” or “credible” fear of persecution by either the government of the foreign country or a group of persons that the government of the foreign country is unable or unwilling to control. You may say to yourself that you definitely have a fear of going back to your country because you won’t be able to find work and your family may go hungry or your children will not be able to get the education that they are exposed to in the United States; but that is not exactly what Asylum was created to protect against. The persecution must be related to one of several classifications that can be used to obtain Asylum. The classification are:
1. Race; (ex. South African during apartheid)
2. Religion; (ex. Iraq Sunni v. Shiite muslims)
3. Nationality; (ex. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza strip)
4. Membership in a particular group; or (ex. Homosexuals in the middle east or Russia)
5. Political opinion. (ex. Iran political dissidents during election of Ahmadinejad in 2009)

Although persecution is not defined in U.S. Immigration Law, courts often have defined persecution as “a threat to life or freedom, or the infliction of suffering or harm.” The definition is very important because a person requesting Asylum must provide proof that their fear is real and that it rises to the required level of possible harm if they are returned to their country.

So far this seems like a very bleak picture that we have painted about Asylum, but that is not necessarily true. In some cases the region of the world that the person requesting Asylum comes from has a political status that the United States government recognizes as imminently dangerous (i.e Darfur). Those requestors will likely be given Asylum with very little extra proof and would likely only have to prove that he/she is part of one of the groups that is being persecuted or is being persecuted under one of the classifications. But this requestor would not have to provide much proof that the persecutor is either the government or a group the government is unable or unwilling to control. Most requestors, however, will be faced with the daunting task of (1) proving that they have either been persecuted in the past or are in fairly imminent danger of suffering persecution if they are returned; and then the person will have (2) to prove that the past or future persecution is based on one of the above enumerated classification and (3) that either the government of the foreign country is the perpetrator or that the government is unable or unwilling to control the group of perpetrators. The point of showing the difficulty of obtaining Asylum is to impress on anyone that believes that he/she can or would like to request Asylum seek the assistance of an Immigration Attorney that is experienced in Asylum.

How to request Asylum:

Asylum can be requested affirmatively, for example, coming to the border of the United States and asking to be given Asylum or within the first year of the foreign national’s arrival to the United States; or defensively, for example, a person that is in removal/deportation proceedings can request Asylum as a defense to being deported from the United States. Either way the proof required is the same. The government does give time for proof to be provided and the United States government will either allow entry during the adjudication of a request in an affirmative setting or stay the removal proceedings, but hold the client in detention, during adjudication in a defensive setting (there are exception to this statement). However, a work authorization is not automatically given to the requestor of Asylum. The two ways that the requestor will be given a work authorization is by either approval of the petition or the request being in the adjudication process for more than 150 days without a final decision.

As you can probably tell by now, Asylum is a very in depth and complicated process. According to the current statistics, 5 of every 6 people who request any immigration benefit, not just Asylum or other difficult to obtain benefits, without the assistance of an Immigration Attorney, do not receive that benefit. Immigration is a very complicated area of law and Asylum is a very detailed and complicated area of Immigration. The best way that you can help yourself is by obtaining the services of a trustworthy, experienced Immigration Attorney partner that can help you navigate the minefield that is Immigration Law. Below I provide some statistics about approval rates of a people coming from few countries and asking for Asylum in the United States.

The payoff to this difficult detailed process is that a person that is granted Asylum may apply for permanent residency after just one year. This is a huge payoff because even those who may not be eligible or may be barred from obtaining their permanent residency in any other way may still be eligible to become a permanent resident through Asylum. If you think that you are eligible for Asylum, give the Whittenburg Law Firm a call today and let us be that trusted partner that will work to help you achieve your American Dream.


The full report can be obtained at: