Asylum and refugee status are available for those who have fled their home country out of fear for their safety. It gives you legal protection by the government and allows you to stay and work in the United States for an indefinite amount of time.
Asylum and refugee status offer the same legal protections. However, which one you should apply for depends on where you are. If you still live in your home country, then you should apply for refugee status. If you have already relocated to the United States, you will apply for asylum instead of refugee status.
If you are granted asylum or refugee status, you are legally protected by the government, allowing you to stay and work in the country for an indefinite period. You are also able to apply for a green card within a year of arrival.
Before you think about applying for asylum or refugee status, you should make sure that you fit the requirements. The government is strict when it comes to granting protected status, and will reject applications that do not meet all of its requirements. You may benefit from reaching out to an immigration attorney to help you with your case.
Basic Requirements For Asylum And Refugee Status
The first requirement for both asylum and refugee status is that you fear returning to your country because you have previously been persecuted or fear persecution if you stay or return to the country.
The second requirement is that this persecution is connected to your race, religion, country of origin, social group, or political beliefs
What Counts As Persecution?
Persecution means that you are being punished or threatened, whether physically or emotionally. It’s a broad term, and the U.S. government does not provide an exact definition of what counts as persecution.
To get a better idea of what is considered persecution by the government, you can look to past immigration cases. In these cases, persecution often involved violence, harassment, torture, or the denial of basic necessities or freedoms. Threats are often considered persecution, provided that they are credible.
Asylum and refugee status are often recognized when a foreign government or other group has threatened political opponents or imprisoned them unlawfully. They are also granted when genocide is being committed against a group.
Persecution doesn’t have to come at the hands of the government. Groups are often persecuted by gangs or rival political movements, as the government is unable or unwilling to stop the violence. In these cases, the U.S. may grant asylum or refugee status to threatened individuals.
The U.S. also protects anyone who is subject to forced population control. This applies to those who are forced to have abortions as part of a government’s policy to control the birth rate.
Persecution Against An Individual May Not Qualify
U.S. law states that the persecution must be due to race, religious beliefs, social group, political beliefs, or nationality. If you are being persecuted for other reasons, your asylum application may be rejected.
For example, someone who fears that their neighbor may hurt them may be able to apply for asylum if the violence is being committed due to religion. However, if the neighbor is threatening violence because of a personal dispute, then refugee status or asylum will likely not be granted.
Persecution Related To Gender
Although not listed directly in the five categories of persecution, violence or threats made due to gender are often considered valid grounds for asylum. Many women have applied for asylum or refugee status, fearing that they will be forced into marriages against their will or be subject to violence because of their gender.
In the past few years, the Trump administration has begun to cut back on asylum granted based on gender. Although applications may still be accepted, the chances are lower.
All Threats Must Be Credible
If you are applying for asylum or refugee status, you’ll have to be able to prove that the threats made against you or your family are credible. That means that you need to have reason to fear that the government or other type of group will actually carry out the threats that they make.
There are a few different ways of proving that a threat is credible. If you belong to a specific ethnic group, you can use news reports or expert studies showing that your group is being persecuted. You can also provide evidence of threats, including messages or videos.
If you have been harassed or hurt in the past, this can also be used as evidence to prove that you home country is no longer safe.
Understanding The Five Types Of Persecution
The U.S. government lists five different categories of persecution. These categories can be broad, making it difficult to know who exactly qualifies. Religion, and country of origin are less complicated, so they don’t need as much of an explanation. Here’s some more information on persecution related to political beliefs, race, and social groups.
This type of persecution most often occurs when an individual holds opinions that threaten the government. They may fear that the government will threaten them or their family if they continue to speak up.
It’s not enough to simply hold unpopular beliefs. You need to demonstrate that the government knows what you believe, and that they are willing to commit violence against you or your family.
You’re more likely to be granted asylum for political beliefs if you have a record of speaking publicly and denouncing the government’s actions. Writers and journalists often qualify, as their anti government positions are out in the open.
Race is a bit more straightforward than political beliefs or social groups. However, the definition can still be somewhat confusing, especially if you are multi-racial.
In general, persecution due to race is when a government or other group is threatening or harassing you based on the racial group they believe you belong to. Even if you do not identify as that race, you may still face persecution because someone believes that you do.
For example, if you are mixed-race or are persecuted because of your skin color, you may qualify for asylum even if you do not identify with any specific race.
Social groups is a broad term, and it can be used to define a wide range of communities. The U.S. government is not always consistent when it comes to its definition of social groups, further complicating the process.
One type of persecution based on social group is when a foreign government sees a specific community of people as a threat. For example, sexual orientation is often considered as a social group, and there are many governments that persecute homosexuals.
Applying For Asylum
If you believe that you meet all of the requirements for refugee status or asylum, you’ll need to fill out an application. In addition to providing personal information, you’ll have to prove that you meet all of the requirements.
That means that you’ll need to submit evidence that shows that you meet one of the types of persecution as defined by the U.S. government. This can be quite difficult to do for many people, as you have to credibly show that you could face violence or harassment if you return to your home country.
The best applications combine different types of supporting documentation. You can use news reports from your home country, witness testimonies, written or documented threats, and statements by experts.
Reach Out To An Immigration Attorney
Asylum and refugee status are increasingly under threat in the United States. That means that the process is more complicated than it has been in years. If you want to have your application accepted, you need to make sure that it’s perfect.
At Monument Immigration, we have years of experience working in every area of immigration law. We know how complicated asylum and refugee status can be. That’s why we work directly with you to build a strong case and increase the chances of a successful application.
Deadlines are important when it comes to asylum and refugee status applications. You need to make sure that you submit your application quickly and without any errors. We can prepare your documents and have your application ready within two business days.
If you are considering applying for asylum or refugee status, reach out to us for a free case evaluation. We can help determine if you qualify and then walk you through your legal options. Contact us by phone today.