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Herndon, VA Asylum Lawyers

Navigating the Asylum Process with Compassionate Legal Support in Fairfax County

Immigrants who hope to resettle in the United States are often fleeing dangerous situations. They may be at risk of harm in their home countries due to wars, oppressive regimes, high levels of crime, or other forms of persecution. The U.S.A. may offer them the opportunity to live in safe communities where they will be free from persecution while pursuing employment and providing for the needs of their families. To help protect those who are vulnerable to harm, U.S. immigration laws offer asylum protections for people who can demonstrate that they have reasonable fears for their safety if they were forced to return to their home countries.

While asylum offers a critical pathway to safety and security for many immigrants, the large numbers of people who are seeking these protections have strained the resources of the immigration system. Successfully being granted asylum can be difficult, which is why it is so important for immigrants to have legal representation during this process. At The Law Firm of Ruiz Dougherty, PLLC, our attorneys have a comprehensive understanding of immigration law, and we can provide compassionate, dedicated legal help to ensure that immigrants will receive the protections they need.

Qualifying for Asylum

Immigrants may receive protection against deportation and be allowed to remain in the United States if they have suffered or will be likely to suffer persecution based on certain protected characteristics. Asylum may be granted based on discriminatory actions related to a person's race or nationality, unfair treatment because of a person's religion or membership in certain groups, or imprisonment or other forms of persecution based on a person's political opinions. To qualify for asylum in the U.S., immigrants will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Presence in the United States: Asylum is typically limited to immigrants who are already inside the U.S., including those who entered the country legally or illegally. Immigrants can also apply for asylum when seeking to enter the United States at a port of entry.
  • Fear of persecution: An immigrant will need to demonstrate that they have a credible, well-founded fear that they will be subject to persecution that could lead to serious harm for themselves or their family if they were returned to their home country.
  • Timely filing: Generally, asylum applications must be filed within one year after an immigrant arrives in the U.S., unless there are extraordinary circumstances that justify a delay. Applications may also be filed if there have been changes in circumstances that may affect a person's eligibility for asylum, such as governmental changes in their home country.

Immigrants may apply for affirmative asylum if they are in the United States and are concerned that they may face deportation. A person may also request defensive asylum after deportation proceedings have begun or if their application for affirmative asylum has been denied.

The Asylum Process

The process of applying for asylum involves several critical steps:

  1. Application: When applying for affirmative asylum, the first step is to file Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, within one year of arriving in the U.S.
  2. Interview: After the application is filed, the applicant will be scheduled for an interview with an asylum officer who will assess their claim. The officer will listen to their statements and review any information submitted to determine whether they have a credible fear that they will suffer harm due to persecution following deportation.
  3. Decision: The decision to grant asylum can be made by the asylum officer at the interview stage or, if the case is referred to an immigration judge, during a subsequent hearing.

Rights and Benefits of Asylees

Once granted asylum, immigrants will receive several protections and benefits, including:

  • Authorization to work: An immigrant can apply for employment authorization while an asylum application is pending. If this authorization is granted, they will be able to work for employers in the United States. This can ensure that they will be able to provide for themselves and their family while living in the U.S. Once asylum is granted, a person will automatically receive employment authorization.
  • Family reunification: After asylum is granted, an immigrant may file a petition to bring their spouse and unmarried minor children to live with them in the United States.
  • Applying for a Green Card: One year after being granted asylum, an immigrant can apply to become a lawful permanent resident, which will allow them to continue living in the U.S. indefinitely.

Contact Our Fairfax County Asylum Attorneys

Asylum protections can be vital for immigrants, ensuring that they and their families will be able to live in safe communities, maintain steady employment, and build new lives in the United States. At The Law Firm of Ruiz Dougherty, PLLC, we can help ensure that asylum applications are submitted correctly, and we can provide legal representation throughout the immigration process to ensure that an immigrant and their family will be fully prepared to address any issues they may encounter. To set up a free consultation and get legal help with asylum or other immigration issues, contact us at 571-441-2233.

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