Seeking Asylum in the United States
With so many people seeking to come to the U.S. to escape persecution in their homelands, it is important that they understand the benefits and realities of seeking asylum. There are also very real risks and difficulties in making asylum claims that are discussed in another article. Obtaining asylum can be a way to remain in the U.S. legally. An immigrant who receives asylum will be able to work and apply for a permanent residence (also known as a green card). Asylum cases rely on specific facts, however, so those seeking asylum are advised to consult with a competent immigration attorney and to obtain as much evidence as possible to prove their need for asylum.
If you believe you have a bona fide claim for asylum in the United States, contact one our competent immigration lawyers for a consultation. Our lawyers possess the knowledge and sensitivities to discuss your case confidentially. We have handled asylum claims having compelling facts successfully. Hence, you should not be discouraged if your case may cause you to feel shame or dismay as the immigration process is highly confidential. Contact us for a consultation.Basis for Claims
In order to make an asylum claim, a foreign national must show that he/she has suffered persecution or will suffer persecution in his/her home country based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. It is also possible to make an asylum claim if a foreign national has been tortured or has a reasonable fear that he/she will be tortured if forced to return to his/her home country. A foreign national must apply for asylum within one year of arriving in the U.S. by filling out the Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal form. The word “removal” is now used in place of “deportation,” both on this form and in the practice of immigration law. A foreign national may also apply for a spouse and children.
The foreign national does not have to arrive in the U.S. legally, which means that even those who are in the country illegally may still apply for asylum. In fact, even if a foreign national has entered and left the U.S. and then returned again illegally, the one year time limit starts from the date of the last arrival. It is important to point out that even those who enter the country illegally are entitled to certain rights and protections. It is also very important that foreign nationals understand that immigration attorneys do not work for the government. In other words, a foreign national whether in the country legally (with inspection) or illegally (without inspection) can safely speak with an immigration attorney to find out what rights exist and what avenues of relief are available. It will then be up to the foreign national to decide whether or not to pursue those options.Ability to Work
Being granted asylum allows a foreign national to apply for work immediately. As is often the case in immigration cases, though, the decision usually takes longer than the foreign national and the foreign national’s attorney would hope. Therefore, the government allows foreign nationals to apply for work authorization if no decision has been made on the asylum application and if 150 days have passed since the application was filed. (Delays caused by the foreign national are not counted towards the 150 days.) Foreign nationals who are awaiting a decision will need Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), but a foreign national who is granted asylum can begin work immediately and does not need the EADs.Ability to Receive a Green Card
One year after a foreign national has received asylum (the foreign national is then known as an asylee) the aslyee can apply for a green card for him or herself and any family members who received asylum along with the asylee. Asylum for family members can be obtained for a spouse and children up to two years after the original asylee was granted asylum. This time limit is fairly strict, but there are some exceptions that apply. All of the members of the family that were granted asylum are eligible to apply for permanent residence – the green card – one year after being granted asylum.Contact us
The entire asylum process can involve multiple forms, deadlines, interviews, and presentations of evidence. It is recommended that foreign nationals who believe they are eligible for asylum meet with an experienced immigration attorney who can assess their case and provide honest feedback and knowledgeable support. The attorneys at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates are experienced immigration attorneys who will review your case and advise you of your rights and options. No matter where you are in the country, you may call and set up and appointment to have one of our attorneys speak with you or set up a meeting at one of our offices.