Are you eligible for asylum in the U.S.?
To be eligible for asylum in the U.S., a person must prove that they are part of a special group in their country and that they have been persecuted in the past or that they have a reasonable fear that they will be persecuted in the future because of their membership in that special group. A special group can be related to race, including a tribal or ethnic identity, religion, sexual orientation, or association with a political party, labor union or other similar organization.
Persecution is more than ordinary harassment, mistreatment, or even suffering, it needs to be serious and severe actual harm has to have been experienced or be likely to be experienced. Mere threats without more will not likely be found sufficient.
The persecution generally must be by a government or by a group that the government will not control and it should be a direct result of the person’s membership in their special group. For example, a person will not likely qualify for asylum based solely on being the victim of a crime, even though they may have suffered terribly, unless they can prove that the suffering was caused by the government or other organization because the person was part of a particular group.
In order to obtain asylum in the U.S. a person generally must submit their application during the 1st year that they are in the U.S. according to the Immigration law. It is also important to note that for any asylum petitions filed after the REAL ID Act became law on May 11, 2005, evidence of asylum eligibility should be established with documentation and records. Good examples of documentation are medical records verifying harm, court records demonstrating government action against the individual, and records verifying the role and membership in a special group (such as political party membership id, etc.)
If a person files for asylum after they have been in the U.S. for a year, they have to prove that the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances, that their asylum claim was based on a recent change in circumstances, or that they were previously in a lawful immigration status that did not require them to apply for asylum.
For example, an individual who received TPS within their first year in the U.S. could apply for asylum after they have been in the U.S. for more than a year and it could get accepted.
Finally, a person with asylum status is eligible to legally work and live in the U.S. and his/her immediate family members may also be eligible for asylum status with all its benefits, as long as the family relationship was established by the date the asylum application was approved, even if any of these family members are not present in the U.S.
If you think you qualify for asylum or any other immigration benefit, please contact our office at: 617-303-2600 and schedule a consultation with one of our immigration lawyers in Boston. We will be happy to assist you.
The FitzGerald Law Company Team