The U.S. government has long recognized the importance of human rights and fair treatment at home and abroad. To this end, USA political asylum protocols are in place to bring relief to many who live in fear elsewhere and are hoping to find safe haven in the United States.
Being granted political asylum in the United States can be a complicated process. The applicant usually is already in the United States and must be able to show sufficient proof that returning to the country of origin could place them in danger of persecution or confinement based upon particular circumstances.
The essential criteria for being granted USA political asylum begins with proving that the individual possesses “reasonable fear” of returning to their country of origin. According to the Political Asylum USA website, the person must demonstrate that their fear is caused by a certain likelihood of persecution based upon any one of five reasons. These are:
- National origin
- Political opinion
- Social membership
Establishing reasonable fear does not necessarily require proving that persecution is 100% likely. The applicant, however, must show that danger of abuse or confinement is possible and that returning would jeopardize the safety and health of the individuals and their families.
Possibly, before asylum is granted, circumstances might change in the home country causing the threatening regime to lose power. Alternatively, another section of the same country that is not controlled by the dangerous parties may be deemed safe enough for the applicant to return. In either case, USA political asylum may be denied or considered moot, and the candidate will be expected to go back to the former homeland.
Two Types of USA Political Asylum Applications
There are two approaches to political asylum. These are labeled affirmative and defensive.
Affirmative Asylum applications apply to those who are currently in the United States and are seeking to remain because they fear persecution if they return to their own country. The individual must submit a completed Form I-589 to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). For those who are outside the United States, they may still apply for refugee status to be admitted.
Defensive Asylum Applicants are ones who may be in the midst of removal proceedings and have either been rejected by the affirmative process or are found to be present in the country illegally. Those who are about to be returned or deported who can prove “credible fear” of persecution in their homeland might be able to convince an asylum officer that deportation will result in substantial danger.
The U.N. Refugee Agency website outlines resources for defensive asylum seekers.
Once the affirmative application has been reviewed, an Asylum Officer is assigned who will preview the case and schedule an interview. Currently, the time lapse between the initial request, interview, and a decision has widened beyond the original mandate because of the high volume of asylum applicants.
The USCIS offers a checklist for preparing for the asylum interview. The applicant is encouraged to bring an attorney to ensure the accuracy of answers and that documentation is properly prepared.
Once the interview is complete, a final decision may be ready in two weeks depending on the officer’s caseload.
One of the dominant themes of the 2016 election season centered around reviewing all forms of immigration, searching out undocumented immigrants for deportation and making entry requirements more stringent. Since January 2017, the newly elected president has issued several executive orders intended to stem the influx of new arrivals and tighten restrictions on asylum seekers.
Consultation with experienced and dedicated immigration attorneys like Nanthaveth & Associates in Austin will bring clarity to your situation and help you to approach your USA political asylum application with confidence and professionalism.
Work with an Experienced Immigration Attorney
In Austin, the many complications and pitfalls that accompany the political asylum process can be greatly facilitated by the successful and compassionate immigration law firm of Nanthaveth & Associates.
The USCIS and Asylum Officers look for accurate and well-considered reasons for accepting an individual and family for asylum in the United States. The first chance is the best chance in most cases, so applicants should seek the best possible representation and counsel.
For a free consultation and review of your situation, contact Nanthaveth & Associates Immigration Law Offices. The caring, multilingual staff will be pleased to explore options and discuss strategies to present your asylum application in the most realistic light.
About Nanthaveth & Associates:
Nanthaveth & Associates, PLLC is a trusted immigration law firm located in Austin, Texas. 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.