As a Miami immigration lawyer, my interest was piqued last week when I came across news of the fact that some Congressional Republicans are sponsoring a bill that would give asylum to families coming from countries where they’re not allowed to homeschool their children.

Asylum is an immigration benefit that allows certain foreign nationals who fear persecution to remain lawfully in the United States indefinitely. People who are granted asylum may apply for lawful permanent residence (a green card) one year after being granted asylum.

Generally, in order to qualify for aslyum, an asylum seeker must prove that he or she has a well-founded fear of persecution based on one or more of five grounds:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Membership in a particular social group (Most LGBT individuals who apply for asylum qualify under this category)
  • Political opinion

Of particular interest to Miami immigration lawyers like me is the fact that this bill would grant asylum to up to 500 families a year who come to the United States because they cannot homeschool their children in their home countries. Many of these families come from Germany and Sweden, where children must attend regular schools.

Critics of the bill, however, have pointed out that the law might actually weaken what has traditionally been a very tough asylum standard. Miami immigration lawyers must demonstrate that their clients have had to contend with a well-founded fear of persecution because of their membership in a particular social group.

Homeschooling bans, the critics charge, may not rise to the level of “persecution,” but could be classified as discrimination – a more generous standard.  This could set a more generous precedent, including those that the overall legislation is intended to prevent.

If you would like more information on asylum claims, please contact Miami immigration attorney Michael G. Murray, Esq. at (305)895-2500 or visit our website at .

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