Asylum may be granted to people in the United States who are unable or unwilling to return their home country because of a well-founded fear of persecution. Persecution generally refers to serious threats or infliction of physical, psychological, or economic harm by an individual’s government (or by groups whom one’s government is either unwilling or unable to control). In order to qualify for asylum, persecution must be on account of one or more of the following:

Ordinarily, one qualifies for asylum only if they apply within one year of their arrival in the United States. However, there are exceptions to this one-year deadline, which may apply to your case. Also, if you do not meet one of the exceptions for filing within one year, you may still be eligible for withholding of removal, which does not contain a deadline to file.

You may apply for asylum regardless of your immigration status, meaning that you may apply even if you are living undocumented in the United States. If you feel you are victim of persecution in your home country, contact the law office of Michael G. Murray, P.A. for a consultation on whether it is in your best interest to file an application for asylum or withholding of removal.

Affirmative Asylum

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides a guide to affirmative asylum that gives five steps for the application process. Below is a summary of this list.

  1. The first step to becoming an asylee begins with entering the United States. This can be sometimes difficult because of the potential for detention at the border and questioning pertaining to your fear of return. This does provide you with an opportunity to file your asylum application directly at a border crossing after a credible fear of return has been established.
  2. Filing asylum using Form I-589, the application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. This application accomplishes two things: it asks the U.S. government to allow you to remain legally in the U.S. while the application is pending, and it starts the process of obtaining your lawful permanent residence or Green Card. Green Cards allow for the right for an immigrant to live and work in the United States.
  3. After you submit your application you will receive a date for a fingerprinting application. Asylees do not pay for fingerprints to be taken. This stage is generally termed biometric processing.
  4. You will then receive a letter asking you to come in for an interview at an Asylum office near you. Based on current backlogs, the wait for your interview can take several years. When you go to your asylum interview you will need to bring any dependents that are included on your application. You should also bring an Austin immigration lawyer with you to the interview.
  5. The Asylum officer review your application and statements to determine if you are eligible for asylum in the United States and don’t have any other conditions that may bar you from claiming asylum. Then, that officer’s supervisory officer will review the decision and it may be reviews yet a third time at the asylum office. A decision is then reached and you will return to the asylum office to receive your decision. The decision may also be mailed to you

Defensive Asylum

Defensive asylum proceedings refer to the filing of an asylum application after one is placed into deportation proceedings.

Often, the defensive asylum application is filed after an immigrant is detained or taken into custody and given an expedited removal order. You can request asylum if being deported would pose a serious risk of harm or death to you. Unlike affirmative asylum where you file your application with USCIS, defensive asylum proceedings take place in immigration court. It is highly recommended that you retain an experienced immigration attorney for the entirety of proceedings.

An Austin immigration lawyerAbogados de Inmigracion en Austin TX – can help you determine if applying for asylum may benefit you or your family. Learn more by contacting Michael G. Murray, P.A today!