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Key points that you need to know about asylum

A lot of people come to the United States in hope of securing a stronger financial future for themselves and their families. But this isn’t the case for everyone. Each year, thousands of people arrive at the border in order to seek protection from some sort of threat that exists in their home country.

If you’re amongst those who come to America seeking protection, then you’re probably fearful of being returned to the danger that you’ve fled. And the complexities of the United States’ immigration laws can leave you feeling uncertain about your future. We hope that this post will shed some light on the asylum process so that you have a better understanding of what the process entails and how it can be used to your advantage.

Asylum basics

In its most basic terms, asylum is the process of withholding removal of an individual who is unable or unwilling to return to their home country out of a well-founded fear of being persecuted on the basis of their race, religion, nationality, membership is a particular social group, or political opinion.

If you’re granted asylum status, then you’re able to remain in the United States and obtain employment. You can even request that family members be brought into the country, and you might qualify for certain government assistance, such as Medicaid, which can help cover your medical needs.

Obtaining asylum status can also put you on the path toward citizenship. This is because after having one year of asylum status you can apply for legal permanent residence. At that point, you then have four years until you can apply for citizenship. Thus, seeking asylum protection can truly put you on the path to starting a new, permanent, and safe life in the United States.

When can you seek asylum protection?

You can either proactively seek asylum when you reach a port of entry, or you can request asylum once you’re in removal proceedings. Either way, you’re going to have to demonstrate that you meet the legal definition of a “refugee,” and you’ll thus have to show that you’ve been persecuted in the past based on your status in a protected class, or that you have a well-founded fear of future persecution.

But evidence supporting this position can be hard to come by given that you’re no longer in your home country. That’s why so a lot hangs on your own testimony. Before you provide that testimony, then, you’ll want to make sure that it’s compelling and speaks to all of the legal elements that are in play in your case.

What does the process look like?

Although you have to apply for asylum within a year, many individuals are considered to have applied once they demonstrate credible fear of persecution or torture once they reach port of entry. If your fear is found to be credible, then you’ll promptly be scheduled for an asylum merit interview, where the circumstances of your case will be more closely examined. At that point, the interviewer has the ability to grant or deny asylum.

If asylum is denied, then you’ll be referred to an immigration court where additional action will be taken against you. Here, you’ll have another opportunity to present your position.

You don’t have to navigate complex immigration laws on your own

The complexities of America’s immigration laws are confusing for most people. But if you don’t understand them, then you might put yourself at a disadvantage when it comes to seeking the protection that you want and deserve. That’s why if you’re considering taking action to protect your interests, such as when you seek asylum, then you may want to consider discussing your particular set of circumstances with an attorney who knows the ins and outs of this area of the law.

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