As political conflict and strife continue to develop around the world, political asylum in the United States may be warranted when citizens and families are faced with the possibility of imprisonment, physical punishment, or even death upon return to their country of residence. Persecution may result from factors, which, according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), may include:
- Political opinion
- Membership in certain social groups
If an individual and family are already in the United States, they may apply for humanitarian political asylum to remain if they can prove that returning to their country of residence places them in imminent danger.
Applying for Political Asylum
Application for asylum must be submitted within one year after arriving in the United States. Applicants must complete a Form I-589, Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal, which can also include protection for a spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age.
If the spouse and/or unmarried children under 21 years of age are currently staying outside the U.S., an individual who has been granted political asylum may submit a Refugee and Asylee Relative Petition (I-730) to permit those persons to enter the country and be granted the same status.
According to the Convention Against Torture of the United Nations, you must prove that you and your family are more likely than not to be persecuted if you return to your country of residence. Asylum seekers must never have been involved in torturing others nor have committed any felonies
Preparing for the Interview
The critical part of the application for asylum is the interview. Because of the complexities of United States Immigration law, the USCIS allows the right for the candidate to bring legal representation to the interview and, if needed, before an Immigration Court.
Once the interview is scheduled, you must bring all necessary documents including:
- Passport and other travel ID documents
- I-94 Arrival Record
- Birth Certificates
- Marriage Certificate
- Copy of your I-589 Application
You may bring a capable interpreter, also, if you are not able to complete the interview in English. Legal representation is allowed after completing USCIS Form G28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative.
Interviewing for Asylum
The confidential interview should last approximately one hour. Although recounting your experiences may be painful, it is necessary that the interviewer understand the threat of danger to you and your family. You will be given an opportunity to make a statement at the end of the interview that may capture information which may not have arisen during the meeting.
Know that the interviewer will have reviewed the application carefully in advance to seek any discrepancies in the documentation.
Questions that May Be Asked
At the beginning of the interview, the interviewer will require you take an oath to verify your identity and to tell the truth during the interview. If you have brought an interpreter, that individual must also swear to relay all of your statements and information truthfully and accurately.
Requests from the interviewer or Asylum Officer may include:
- Explaining who you are and your background.
- Why are you seeking asylum?
- Have you been involved with or committed any serious crimes?
- Can you clarify information contained in the application?
- Can you prove that you have been persecuted? Do you have scars or other proof of persecution?
- Can anyone else provide written confirmation of the persecution or potential for a threat to your safety?
The interviewer may ask the same question more than once to make sure your story is consistent. Or, they may appear to show some signs of not believing you to try to cause you to deviate from the story.
Contact a Trusted Immigration Attorney
Asylum application is complicated and must be handled carefully for success. Working with a proven immigration law firm like Nanthaveth & Associates in Austin, Texas, asylum seekers will be provided the professional counsel necessary to improve your chance of success. Always remember that the USCIS representatives are charged with sorting fact from fiction, and an honest, well-presented application and interview can mean the difference between success and failure. Failure in asylum cases can result in removal or deportation.
Working with a professional immigration lawyer ensures that the application is accurate and interview preparation is complete. Toward the end of the interview, the immigration lawyer can make a summary statement to support the applicant’s case and possibly add facts that have not been discussed.
For a free initial consultation, contact Nanthaveth & Associates Immigration Law Office, a multilingual immigration law firm focused entirely on immigration matters including political asylum and appeals.
To assist with political asylum applications, visit the Nanthaveth & Associates website to set up a free consultation.
About Nanthaveth & Associates:
Nanthaveth & Associates, PLLC is a trusted immigration law firm located in both Austin, Texas and Gonzales, Louisiana. Immigration law experts at Nanthaveth and Associates are prepared to provide legal counsel for businesses, families and individuals in the areas of green cards, deportation, adjustment of status, work visas and investor visa applications, family sponsored immigration, employer compliance, self-petitions, permanent residence, naturalization, waivers, appeals, foreign adoptions, mediation and more.
For Austin, TX immigration help call Nanthaveth & Associates at 512.371.9000.