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Proudly Serving Dallas, FT.Worth, San Antonio, Houston.
Under U.S. law, people fleeing their countries for fear of persecution can apply for asylum. U.S. immigration law provides that a person who has been granted asylum can remain in the country without fear of deportation to a nation where they fear persecution or harm. People who have been granted asylum are referred to as asylees. Asylees can work, travel abroad, and apply for their spouse or unmarried children below the age of 21 to join them. In addition, asylees can apply for U.S. citizenship five years after admission to lawful permanent residence.
There are three types of asylum.
If either you or your loved ones are contemplating applying for asylum in the U.S., whether you are facing deportation or not, we can advise you on the correct manner to proceed. Success rates for both the types of asylum are higher when an asylum lawyer is used to represent the subject. According to TRAC Immigration, during FY 2021, denial rates in defensive cases were 66 percent for represented cases and 82 percent for those without representation. In affirmative cases, denial rates were 32 percent with representation compared to 52 percent without representation.
Seeing an experienced, dedicated Immigration Attorney in Texas can increase your chances of winning a favorable outcome in your asylum case.
An asylum is a form of protection from persecution. Once granted asylum, you can gain a path to citizenship by applying to live in the United States permanently. You can also apply for your spouse and kids to join you in the United States. In addition, foreign nationals already in the United States or who arrive at the border and can be categorized as a “refugee” as per the international law definition may be eligible for asylum.
A refugee is defined as an individual who is unwilling or unable to return to their home country and is not able to obtain protection in such a country due to persecution in the past or a legitimate fear of getting persecuted in the future “on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” [The United Nations 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol]. The subject has to provide evidence demonstrating they have suffered persecution due to a protected ground or that they have a “well-founded fear” of future persecution in their native land.
A person not subject to removal proceedings can affirmatively apply for asylum via the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You are required to apply within the one-year deadline from your last arrival in the United States. If you fail to do this, you are barred from applying altogether.
First, a form is completed, after which you will need to attend an interview with an asylum officer who will assess the case and then decide whether to grant you asylum status. If the asylum officer rejects the application, the matter is referred to the immigration court for removal proceedings.
When a person is the subject of deportation proceedings, including instances in which an affirmative application has been rejected, the matter is decided by an immigration judge at the immigration court. A potential defense to deportation is to apply for a defensive asylum to be granted.
An individual placed in custody within 14 days of their entry into the United States and assigned “expedited removal” proceedings is subject to the expedited asylum process.
A USCIS asylum officer reviews and adjudicates the asylum claim before placing the individual into formal removal proceedings. If asylum is denied, they are referred to the immigration court for removal proceedings, and further hearings on their asylum application are expedited.
Asylum seekers present at a U.S. port of entry or who enter the United States without inspection are generally required to apply through the defensive or expedited asylum processes.
The interview lasts at least an hour, although it can vary from case to case. You are required to administer an oath promising to speak the truth during the interview. The asylum officer verifies your identity and will ask basic biographical questions, reasons for applying for asylum, and other questions to ascertain if any considerations will restrain you from applying for asylum or being granted one.
Though it may be hard for you to talk about painful and traumatic experiences that led you to leave your country behind, it is essential that you share your circumstances so that the asylum officer can assess whether you are eligible for asylum.
The contents of your conversation with the asylum officer are entirely confidential. At the end of the interview, you and your asylum lawyers can make a statement or add additional information. The asylum officer will not decide your case at the asylum interview.
There is often a massive backlog of asylum applications. Technically, you should receive an invitation for an interview within 45 days, but this depends on many factors.
The decision will be emailed to you once it has been made. Timelines fluctuate, so it can take two to three months to receive a decision. In the case of an affirmative asylum process, the USCIS mandates that a decision should be taken within 180 days of filing the application. However, longer wait times have been reported as well.
If the asylum officer denies your application, they will refer your application to the immigration court.
Historically, the asylum office does not provide interpreters. You have the option to take along your interpreter. However, in light of the covid-19 pandemic, the USCIS published a temporary final rule which states that till March 16, 2023, the USCIS will provide contract interpreters who will provide their services telephonically and free of charge. These contract interpreters are fluent in 47 languages. For other languages or subject to extraordinary circumstances, you can get your own interpreter.
It is not mandatory. However, the process can be quite complex. Often, there are language barriers, and thousands of cases are processed annually. Your chances of success are likely to increase significantly when you brief asylum attorneys. Consult with an immigration lawyer with experience in the relevant Practice Areas.
Having your lawyer with you at the interview and any hearings you may be required to attend is a good idea. Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law will assist you in following the correct procedure and will be with you throughout the process.
Many people feel intimidated by the complex processes. Having an experienced, confident professional at your side can help calm your nerves. Our immigration attorneys handle various immigration matters, including Family Base Petitions and Green Cards. So give us a call today.
There are no government fees for asylum applications. However, if you decide to use legal representation, you will be responsible for covering the legal costs the law firm charges.
If applying for affirmative asylum, you should submit two sets of Form I-589 (the original you filled out, plus one copy if filing by mail). You should also include the following: