In the United States, individuals who face persecution based on their sexual orientation or gender identity can apply for asylum (what might be referred to as LGBTQ asylum). This means they can ask the US government for protection if they are unable to return to their home country due to a well-founded fear of persecution.
The eligibility for asylum in the US is determined through a process known as “affirmative asylum,” which involves an individual applying for asylum with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). If the USCIS or DHS determines that the individual has a credible fear of persecution, the case will be referred to an immigration judge for further review.
In recent years, the US has expanded its recognition of the types of harm faced by LGBTQ individuals, including violence and discrimination, as grounds for asylum. The US recognizes that individuals who are persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity face unique challenges and may require special protections.
The asylum application process in the United States involves several steps and can take several months or longer to complete. Here is a general overview of the process:
1. Initial screening: The individual must present themselves at a port of entry (airport, land border crossing, etc.) or arrive in the US and request asylum. If the individual is not in lawful immigration status, they may be placed in removal proceedings. If they pass an initial credible fear interview, the case will proceed to the next stage.
2. Affirmative Asylum Processing: If the individual passes the credible fear interview, they will be referred to USCIS for an affirmative asylum interview. This is when the individual must present evidence and testimony to support their claim for asylum.
3. Asylum Interview: USCIS will conduct an in-person interview to determine the individual’s eligibility for asylum. This is an opportunity for the individual to provide additional information and evidence to support their claim.
4. Decision: USCIS will make a decision on the individual’s asylum application and, if approved, grant asylum. If denied, the individual may request a review by an immigration judge.
5. Immigration Court Hearing: If the individual requests a review by an immigration judge, the case will proceed to removal proceedings in immigration court. The individual will have the opportunity to present their case in front of an immigration judge and to appeal any negative decision.
To apply for asylum in the United States based on sexual orientation or gender identity, an individual must demonstrate that they have suffered past persecution or have a well-founded fear of future persecution in their home country based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
To do this, the individual must provide evidence to support their claim, including:
1. Documentation: Personal identification documents, police reports, court records, and other documentation that supports the individual’s claim of persecution based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
2. Testimony: Personal statements, letters from friends, family, or community members, and any other evidence that demonstrates the individual’s experiences of persecution in their home country.
3. Expert testimony: Reports from medical professionals, psychologists, or human rights organizations that provide additional context and support for the individual’s claims of persecution.
4. Country conditions: Evidence about the general situation for LGBTQ individuals in the individual’s home country, including laws and social attitudes towards the LGBTQ community.
It is important to note that the process of applying for asylum can be complex and requires a thorough understanding of US asylum law. An individual seeking asylum may wish to consult with an immigration attorney or a recognized asylum program for assistance in preparing and presenting their case.
It is important to note that the asylum application process can be complex and may involve multiple hearings, appeals, and reviews. An individual seeking asylum may wish to consult with an immigration attorney or a recognized asylum program for assistance in preparing and presenting their case.