Asylum is still a viable option to seek Protection
By Alexander Carl – Immigration Attorney, Bolour Immigration Group
Asylum seekers should not be deterred from seeking protection in the U.S. despite the rhetoric of our current Administration. Seeking asylum is an international human right, and under the principle of non-refoulement, the U.S. is barred from returning asylum seekers back to countries where they will face persecution.
The agencies adjudicating asylum applications in the U.S. are the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). There are two ways in which a person may apply for asylum: 1) “affirmative asylum processing with USCIS” and 2) “defensive asylum processing with the EOIR (in front of an Immigration Judge while in Removal Proceedings).”
To apply for asylum affirmatively, the asylum seeker must be physically present in the U.S. The method in which the asylum seeker arrived in the U.S. is irrelevant. You must however apply for asylum within one year of your most recent arrival to the U.S. If you fail to do so then you must meet one of the exceptions to the “one year rule” in order to be eligible for asylum. Do not be deterred however by the one year rule as there are ways to demonstrate that you meet the exception to the rule depending on recent factors and developments in your life etc. Thus, if you fear persecution in your home country do not hesitate to reach out to a qualified immigration attorney who is well versed in asylum law to determine whether or not asylum is a viable option for you.
If asylum is granted by USCIS, the asylum seeker is immediately entitled to live, work, and after a year of living as an asylee in the U.S. he or she may apply for permanent residency. If the affirmative asylum case is referred to court then the person seeking asylum has another chance to present his or her case in front of an Immigration Judge. In court you are also able to seek protection through CAT and Withholding of Removal. Once in court however there is no turning back, meaning if your case is denied and you are also denied protection under CAT and Withholding of Removal, then you will be removed from the U.S. – assuming you have no other reliefs available to you in Court. So do not rush to file without first speaking with an attorney who is well versed in asylum law.
Asylum is a complex area of Immigration law so it is important to discuss your options with a qualified immigration attorney who is well versed in this specific area of law.
Immigration laws and policies are constantly changing, and given the inherit complexity of asylum cases, our firm strongly encourages asylum seekers to speak to an experienced immigration attorney. Our team is here to help, so if you or anyone who know fears persecution in their home country do not hesitate to call our Office to schedule a consultation.
Alexander Carl – Immigration Attorney, Bolour Immigration Group