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Seeking Asylum

by: Justin Burton

Every year, there are a number of people that enter the United States after leaving their home countries to escape war, persecution or natural disasters. If you are a person who has suffered persecution or fear that you will be persecuted in your home country, you might be able to apply for asylum in the United States.

Asylum is a grant of protection by the United States. It allows the person, called an “asylee,” to stay in the country for an indefinite period of time.

Benefits of asylum

There are multiple benefits to being granted asylum. Some of the most significant benefits are listed.

  • You will be authorized to work in the United States.
  • You can petition to bring your spouse and children to the United States within two years of being granted asylum.
  • You can apply for a green card one year after being granted asylum.
  • You can obtain a social security card.
  • You may be able to receive financial, medical, employment and English language assistance from specific organizations for a period of time after you have been granted asylum.

Who can apply for asylum?

You may be able apply for asylum if you have suffered persecution or fear persecution because of any of the following categories:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Membership in a particular social group (sexual orientation is included here)
  • Political opinion

Generally, you need to apply for asylum within one year of your last entry into the United States. However, the one-year deadline may be overcome if you meet certain exceptions or can show that there were extraordinary circumstances prevented you from applying for asylum before the deadline.

What is needed to apply for asylum?

The following are needed to complete an application for asylum:

  • Form I-589, Application for Asylum and For Withholding of Removal
  • A personal statement or declaration detailing why you are applying for asylum.
  • Documents that corroborate the specific facts that you are asserting. These may include medical reports, police reports and witness statements.
  • Evidence showing the conditions of the country from which you are seeking asylum. This may include human rights reports, newspaper articles and expert witness reports.

Deciding to apply for asylum

The decision to apply for asylum is a very important one and should not be taken lightly. There are numerous benefits to being granted asylum in the United States. However, if the application for asylum is denied, you face the risk of being deported back to the country you are seeking asylum from.

Be sure to be cautious of time as it is much more likely that an asylum application filed after the one-year deadline will be denied. Most importantly, reach out to an experienced attorney to discuss your situation and the options that are available to you.

At Kriezelman Burton & Associates, we can advise and assist you in deciding whether to apply for asylum. Once you have made the decision to apply for asylum, we can guide you through the application process and will be with you every step of the way.

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