Securing approval for Asylum status is entirely dependent on your presentation to the authorities. It’s about painting a clear picture of life in your home country to prove beyond a doubt why it’s so dangerous for you to return. Because this can often be such an emotional and trying process, it can be difficult to establish a clear and effective argument for yourself.
At Nuñez & Associates we will listen to your account with compassion and a sensitive ear then use our experience to create a well-organized and effective argument on your behalf. The pressure is off your shoulders and placed into the hands of professionals.
An immigrant may seek permanent residency status or a work visa based upon a well-founded fear of persecution should the individual be deported to their home country. If proven, the person is granted asylum status. Persecution refers to torture, harassment, violence, threats of violence or psychological injury or harm.
Your fear of persecution must be based upon:
- Membership in a social group, religion, nationality, ethnicity
- Political opinions
- Previous persecution
If any of these conditions apply to your situation, you must apply for asylum or refugee status within one year of your entry into the U.S. There is no precondition that you have entered the country legally to apply for asylum. Those seeking asylum must complete the USCIS refugee form. If asylum is based on political asylum, the form is I-589, or Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal.
After completing and submitting the form, you will not be subject to removal proceedings during the pendency of the proceeding.
Examples of Persecution
Some countries are notorious for persecuting citizens, such as North Korea. In other countries, certain activities may qualify as provocative for asylum or refugee purposes:
- Military firing on protestors at a street rally
- Evidence of imprisonment or torture of dissidents
- Disappearance of dissidents
- Omitting members of a social group or religion from the political process
- Refusing to prosecute citizens for committing acts of persecution against certain groups
- Women who have undergone forced genital mutilation, forced marriage or domestic abuse
- Government intolerance of groups that hold recognized political opinions
What is a Social Group?
If you belong to an ascertainable group that the foreign government has targeted for persecution, then you may claim this as a qualifying condition for refugee or asylum status. The group must have a distinguishing characteristic fundamental to its identity which the group cannot change or be expected to change. This includes homosexuals, members of a certain social class, former police or military members, tribes or ethnic groups such as Shias or Shiites, Gypsies or the Rohingya of Myanmar.
To qualify as a political refugee, you need to have held opinions or beliefs that are anathema to the ruling foreign government, which has taken some action to punish you or others for certain speech or opinions. You should have evidence of publications in newspapers or other public documents for which you were tortured or that you were harassed or threatened for your opinions expressed at a rally or demonstration. Severe punishment for being a member of a labor union or opposition political party may also qualify.
Bars to Asylum or Refugee Status
Certain activities will prevent an immigrant from being permitted to seek asylum or refugee status. For instance, if you were convicted of a serious violent offense or aggravated felony, your application will be denied. Other disqualifying circumstances include individuals who fled their country but settled in another country and who meet any of the following conditions:
- participated in the persecution of another group
- are considered a threat to US national security
- were granted citizenship or permanent residency in another country
- obtained economic independence in the adopted country through employment or education
Central American Minors (CAM)
CAM was implemented to provide a safe alternative for travel to the U.S. for minors currently residing in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. These three Central American nations have a history of gang violence, organized crime, drug wars, human trafficking and sexual violence.
Because the protection of children is of utmost importance, it’s critical that you seek professional legal help when applying to bring a child to the U.S. through CAM. Not all children will qualify, but your odds are higher with guidance and support from our qualified immigration attorneys.
At Nuñez & Associates, we’ve taken extra time and care to understand this new regulation and have helped dozens of children seek safe passage and refuge through this program. Our staff is eager to use this Act to its fullest potential.
Convention Against Torture (CAT)
If you find yourself seeking asylum from a dangerous home country but ineligible for asylum in the U.S. because of extenuating circumstances, then CAT may be your only hope. When you’ve reached that point, you should take no risks with the one chance you’ve got.
Immigrants seeking refuge in the U.S. who have been subjected to particularly harsh treatment, defined as torture by guidelines set by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), may gain relief and legal status in the U.S. pursuant the Convention Against Torture, or CAT.
The Nuñez & Associates immigration specialists will help you apply for CAT relief, effectively prove torture, and handle your delicate situation with competence and tact.