Louisville, KY- Asylum is specific immigration status available to certain immigrants who have left or plan to leave their native countries because they fear they will be physically harmed or face persecution if they remain or return. Each year there are strict limits on how many immigrants will be granted asylum status and obtaining this status requires a significant burden of proof they must provide to immigration officials.
The USCIS requires that person seeking asylum is able to prove they face or could face persecution in their native country due to their race, religion, political affiliation, nationality or membership in social group. Persecution can and often includes imprisonment, harassment, physical violence, psychological distress or a denial of an individual’s basic human rights.
There are two paths differing paths an immigrant can take when they seek asylum; they can ask or asylum after they have entered the U.S., or at a Port of Entry. When and where an individual applies for asylum will affect the way their request is handled so it’s crucial an individual consults with an immigration attorney before they decide which approach to take.
The asylum process moves quickly when an immigrant asks for asylum at a port of entry. Typically, applying for asylum at a port of entry requires an immigrant be held in a detention facility until they meet with an asylum officer and are cleared by a criminal background check.
A few days after asking for this status, the applicant will be scheduled to meet with an asylum officer. During this meeting they must be able to prove they have “reasonable fear” they will be subjected to persecution or physical harm. If they have satisfied the “reasonable fear” requirement, the immigrants will be allowed to stay in the U.S. until they are scheduled to appear in immigration court.
This first meeting with an asylum officer is crucial; their decision is final meaning if their petition is denied they will be asked to return to their country of origin with no opportunity to appeal. An immigrant’s fate depends whether an immigrant is able to convince officials they are deserving of this status. In order to increase the chances of success, the applicant is advised to hire an immigration attorney to develop a compelling argument on their behalf and demonstrate they meet the “reasonable fear” eligibility requirements.
An immigrant can also apply for asylum after they have successfully entered on the U.S. as long as they submit their application for asylum within a year of their arrival. There are a few exceptions to the one-year rule which can be thoroughly outlined by an immigration attorney.
Approval of asylum applications is always left to the discretion of an asylum officer therefore it will work int their favor if they have enlisted the services of an immigration attorney. If an immigrant’s asylum petition is denied, the decision can be appealed before an immigration judge as long as they applied for the status after they entered the U.S.
An immigrant can also apply for asylum before they enter the U.S., but they do so by applying for refugee status and must wait for their petition to be approved before they are allowed entry.