If you live in a country where you have gotten persecuted due to your race, religion, or other factors, you may have feared for your life. When these circumstances exist, you may decide seeking asylum in America is your best option. While it is an uphill battle, to say the least, it is one that can be winnable. An average of more than 25,000 people each year are granted asylum in the United States. If you wish to pursue this option, we recommend you work with an experienced. Los Angeles asylum lawyer who understands this complex and confusing process.
What is Asylum?
If you meet the criteria for what international law defines as a refugee, you are eligible to apply for asylum in the United States. A form of protection given to foreign nationals who are either already present in the United States or arrive at the border can mean the difference between life or death. Since the following legislations have been in place, the United States is required to provide legal protections to individuals classified as refugees:
United Nations Convention in 1951 – the foundation formed to assert that refugees should remain in countries granting asylum and not return until their livelihood and freedom are no longer at risk in their country of origin.
Protocol from 1967 – the protocol established in 1951 became an international refugee law in 1967.
Refugee Act of 1980 – this was an amendment of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 and the Migration and Refugee Assistance Act. It standardized the process for admitting refugees by limiting how many could get permitted into the country.
Since its establishment, there have been other recent changes that require more evidence from applicants following the events of September 11th. The Real ID Act of 2005 has been one of them. It passed to set standards for issued identification like non-driver photo IDs or driver’s licenses. It also established security standards for federal agencies to ensure that they followed the Act’s criteria.
Eligibility – What Is Required to Become an Asylee?
To be eligible to apply, you must demonstrate or prove that you would be suffering from political, racial, religious, and other persecutions if you returned to your native country. The U.S. is often the first place asylum seekers turn to for a fresh start and ample opportunities. To gain entry, you must also prove that neighboring countries either turned away your application or failed to provide you safety. Additional requirements are as follows:
Must already be living in the U.S. or arriving through an official port-of-entry.
Be able to explain the living circumstances in your native country (or personal circumstances) and how it has drastically changed if you plan on residing in the U.S. for more than one year.
Apply on time – no later.
Speak to an asylum attorney in LA as soon as possible when choosing to seek this form of legal protection.
How Can Asylum Help Me?
Along with offering you legal protection from being persecuted in your home country, asylum will provide you with many other benefits as well. For example, you will have the authorization to work in the United States. You will also be able to partake in the following:
Apply to obtain a Social Security card
Become eligible for Medicaid
Gain permission for overseas travel
Petition to bring additional family members into the United States
Finally, after having asylum for 12 months, you may apply for a green card, which would grant you permanent resident status. To make sure you and your family members can ultimately gain the peace of mind of being in the U.S. and have access to these valuable benefits, contact an attorney for refugees in California who is committed to helping you and your family.
How Do I Apply for Asylum?
There are a few things to know when you decide you wish to seek asylum in the U.S. To get started on your application, you will need access to Form I-589 (Asylum and Withholding of Removal Application) to apply “affirmatively” through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The affirmative process is one of two categories you may get placed into. The second is called a defensive process. While these processes are very similar, the main difference involves whether or not you are in removal proceedings. If you are not affected by the possibility of removal proceedings, you can pursue the affirmative process through the USCIS. Unless specified, applicants must submit their applications to qualify. However, those falling under extraordinary hardships (like emotional disability) can fill a waiver to request an extension. Any changes in your living or personal circumstances must get reported, even if it is a year later.
Otherwise, you would pursue defensive asylum. However, if you take up the defensive asylum, you must realize that the government will not automatically appoint legal counsel for you in immigration court. Many non-citizens face this type of asylum when they plead at the border or get caught by immigration. The Immigration Judge rules if you are eligible for relief or protection. If not, you will get deported, followed by your application getting revoked. That will likely be your only option, especially if you are presenting yourself at a U.S. port of entry or are in the U.S. without proper inspection. Because of this, do not hesitate to consult with a Los Angeles immigration lawyer to represent you in your quest to remain in the United States.
If you are in the country illegally, you will not lose your eligibility to apply for asylum. As mentioned previously, you must meet the requirements and should consult with a legal professional. In any case, when asylum seekers arrive, the USCIS does not request a fee for applications like other immigration and non-immigrant visas.
Is There a Deadline to Apply for Asylum?
Asylum can be a tricky process, as seekers come to the U.S. on their own initiative. While some individuals mistakenly believe they can apply for asylum any time they choose, the fact is there is a deadline by which you must apply to get considered. According to federal law, you must submit your application within 12 months of your arrival in the United States. In addition to this deadline, keep in mind that a federal court ruling in 2018 now requires the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to inform asylum seekers of this deadline. Unfortunately, missing deadlines is the most common reason the federal government denies asylum applications. Always pay close attention to the instructions and do everything possible to make this deadline with plenty of time to spare. An LAasylum lawyer who is not afraid to take on the system and do what it takes to win your case will ease your burdens and help you stay on track.
What Is Temporary Protected Status?
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) will protect anyone whose life gets threatened from removal per U.S. and international law. Individuals displaced from war, civil unrest, or a state of natural emergency are allowed to stay in the country if conditions are worsening or ongoing.
Migrant Protection Protocols
Since many asylum laws are tied directly to the political climate at that moment, you may find yourself facing unexpected hurdles in your quest for asylum. Migration Protection Protocols, which are the enforced laws, can involve Border Patrol and other government officials turning away asylum seekers at the border. In addition to this, the COVID-19 pandemic has also made seeking asylum harder. The government has been reluctant to allow people into the U.S., especially if they are coming from countries that have gotten impacted severely. As a result, you may find yourself in limbo, being forced back into a country where you may fear for your life. Should you be in such a situation, you should not allow the government to put your life in jeopardy and on hold indefinitely. Instead, place your trust in an asylum attorney in LA who can examine the details of your case and make sure your legal rights will get protected throughout the asylum process.
Can I Get Asylum Immediately?
In most situations, asylum seekers do not get approved for asylum immediately. In fact, you should expect the asylum process to take potentially years to conclude. While there is a one-year deadline, it often takes far longer than that to see your case resolved. Immigration Judges or asylum officers thoroughly review the details of your application. You need to provide what gets asked of you and meet the legal definition of a refugee. That may sound like an unfair advantage, but all will go well if the living conditions get articulated clearly.
However, there are a few factors that can prevent an application from getting approved. Applicants get barred from asylum for:
Claiming persecution. But also participating in adverse treatments based on others’ religions, political views, race, sexual orientation, etc.)
Getting convicted of a crime (minor offenses, felonies, violent crimes)
Having a long record of living in other countries without fear of persecution
Show signs of being a threat in the U.S.
As you wait for a status update on your application, you could find yourself facing detainment in a migrant detention center or jail. Since you will have few if any people in these environments fighting to protect your legal rights, look to an asylum law firm in CA to take the lead and ensure government officials follow the rules each step of the way.
Can Applicants with a Criminal Record Still Apply?
You can still apply for asylum if you have been convicted of a crime, but it will weigh significantly in the judge’s decision. It depends on the nature of the crime or crimes associated with the conviction. Applicants with a criminal conviction must also disclose this crucial information on Form I-589. Failing to do so will be considered an act of perjury. That means your chance for temporary or long-term protection will get rejected.
Brief Overview of The Interview Process
Interviews offer applicants a chance to prove their case and further explain why this is a vital opportunity. Applicants that do not fluently speak English can bring an interpreter and legal counsel to the asylum interview for assistance. Children and other dependents (younger than 21) listed in the application must accompany the applicant, as well. Show up on time and make sure to have the following paperwork to ensure the process goes well.
ID, passport, travel documents
Marriage certificate (if applicable)
Have a copy of Form I-589 and supplemental documents.
Including anything that could be the determining factor of your chance at asylum (ex. evidence of persecution
We understand that you may not be well-versed in the laws or policies. However, we strongly advise asylum seekers to avoid handling their cases alone. Instead, plan to schedule a consultation immediately with a LA immigration lawyer who will listen to your concerns, advise you of your options, and commit to helping you remain in the United States.
Contact an Immigration Attorney from The Law Offices of Todd Becraft
At The Law Offices of Todd Becraft, our immigration attorneys recognize how overwhelming the visa, immigration, and naturalization processes can be. Each client deserves an individualized approach that pertains to their unique situation. When you choose us – you can expect a thorough analysis of your case, extensive preparation, combined with our years of experience and expertise. Our commitment to excellence and thoughtful approach to diverse immigration matters sets us apart from other firms. Contact us if you’re inquiring about:
Deportation & Removal
Victims of Crimes
Todd Becraft relocated from New York to Los Angeles in 1995 and began practicing immigration law in 2000. Just nine short years later, he purchased the law practice of Timothy Everett, an immigration judge. Today he is still advocating for immigrants and non-immigrants on their path to citizenship in the U.S. Alongside him are paralegals Sandy Gomez and Dennis Escobar, who are both native Angelinos. En Español.
If you have a legal concern in one of our immigration practice areas, call 213-388-1821 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation!