Political Asylum

The immigration laws allow persons who are afraid to return to their home country or place of last residence because they have been persecuted in the past, or because there is a chance that they will be persecuted if they return, to seek political asylum in the United States. The persecutor must be the government of that country or a group the government of that country cannot or will not control. In addition, the persecution must be as a result of one of the grounds specified by the law. The grounds include race, religion, ethnic origin, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

 

In the recent past there have been a number of cases where unique situations have been found to constitute persecution. These have included cases based on domestic violence, persecution on account of sexual preference, religious practices such as female genital mutilation, and official government policies such as forced sterilization. For this reason we would encourage anyone who fears returning to their home country or country of last residence to request a Case e-Valuation. With Perez & Associate’s years of experience with asylum cases, including attorneys who themselves have been granted political asylum, we will be able to tell you if your case is suitable for an asylum application.

 

TIME LIMITS

The immigration laws specify that a person who intends to apply for political asylum must apply within 365 days of their arrival in the United States. After the 365 days one must show that the failure to file within the 365 days was for reasons beyond the person’s control or because there has been a recent change in the country from which the person is seeking asylum that has created a reasonable fear of persecution if the person is forced to return to that country.

 

PERSONS WHO ENTERED ILLEGALLY OR WITH FALSE DOCUMENTS REMAIN ELIGIBLE

Political asylum is the only area of immigration law where having entered the United States illegally across a border or with false documents does not matter. The reason is that the law takes into account that a person fleeing persecution may have to resort to extreme measures such as these.

 

PROCESS

If you are not in removal or deportation proceedings you will file for political asylum with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS). This will eventually result in an interview at the corresponding Asylum Unit. If CIS grants the application for political asylum you may apply for Permanent Residence one year after the grant of asylum. If CIS does not grant the application for political asylum it will refer the case to an Immigration Judge in removal proceedings.

 

If you are in removal or deportation proceedings you can have an application for political asylum considered by the Immigration Judge. Whether you are filing for asylum for the first time with the Immigration Judge, or whether you are before the Immigration Judge after having filed for asylum with CIS, the Immigration Judge will consider your case as a new asylum application. If the Immigration Judge grants you asylum you ca apply for Permanent Residence one year after the date of the decision.

 

FAMILY MEMBERS

Certain family members (spouses and unmarried children under 21) of an applicant for political asylum will also be granted political asylum if the principal applicant is granted asylum. This includes spouses who married after the asylum application was filed, but before it was granted, and family members outside the United States.

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