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Who Qualifies For Asylum In the United States?

While a refugee is someone who has been granted protection prior to leaving their country because of war or persecution, an asylum seeker is a person who first comes to the United States and then seeks protection from persecution or violence.

If you want to be granted asylum in the United States, you must apply within one year of your arrival. Exceptions to this rule include if something prevented you from filing earlier or if you can demonstrate a change of circumstances in your home country that has either created a new fear of return or has increased a preexisting fear. If you cannot meet either of these conditions, then you may only be eligible for withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture.

Asylum seekers must demonstrate that they face a reasonable possibility of persecution in their home country due to their:

  • Race,
  • Religion,
  • Nationality,
  • Political opinion,
  • Or Membership in a particular social group.

Unaccompanied minors (UACs) who enter the United States without parental supervision also have the right to apply for asylum through USCIS. UACs are also exempt from the one year filing requirement.

Asylum seekers who are not UACs and those who do not enter the country lawfully, do not have the opportunity to pursue asylum affirmatively. They can only do so defensively. This means that removal proceedings are immediately commenced against them, and they can apply for asylum, but they will have to do so in removal proceedings where they will face cross-examination by an ICE attorney.

Is It Going To Affect Someone’s Asylum Case If They Are In The US Illegally?

You should keep in mind: Applying for asylum with USCIS will trigger removal proceedings if USCIS does not grant the application, so it is important to weigh all your options before taking action and contact a qualified immigration lawyer who can help.

For more information on Asylum Law in Virginia, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (703) 775-1438 today.

Brousseau & Lee, PLLC

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