Chicago Asylum Immigration Attorney
Every year, people flee to the United States to seek protection because of persecution or fear of the same due to their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Persecution as used in this case, means to harass, punish, injure, oppress, or otherwise cause someone to suffer physical or psychological harm.
While the U.S. Immigration law does not list specific examples of the kinds of persecution that qualifies one for an asylum or refugee status in the country, grant for this status has been given where a foreign government has:
- imprisoned and tortured political dissidents or supposed undesirables
- fired on protesters
- committed genocide against a certain race
- made sure that members of a certain religion were left out of the political process,
- and much more.
In addition to this, threats, violence, inappropriate imprisonment, torture, or denial or basic human rights are included in these grounds.
To apply for asylum in the U.S., the applicant may ask for asylum at the port-of-entry to the country such as airport, seaport, or border crossing; or file Form I-598 Application of Asylum and for Withholding of Removal at the appropriate Service Center within 1 year of arrival in the U.S. Regardless of the immigration status of the applicant, the latter may apply for asylum.
Who is Eligible to Apply?
The Immigration Judge or the Asylum Officer will determine the applicant’s eligibility for asylum, subject to evaluating whether the latter meets the definition of a “refugee”. As defined, a refugee is someone who is unable or unwilling to return to and avail himself or herself of the protection of his or her home country or, if stateless, country of last habitual residence because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The determination of the applicant’s eligibility based on this definition will be based on the information provided by the applicant during the application, or during the interview with the Asylum Officer or hearing before an Immigration Judge.
In the same manner will the Immigration Judge or Asylum Officer determine whether the bars apply to the applicant. Grounds for the latter are as follows:
- Ordered,incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of any person on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion
- Were convicted of a particularly serious crime (includes aggravated felonies)
- Committed a serious nonpolitical crime outside the United States
- Pose a danger to the security of the United States
- Firmly resettled in another country prior to arriving in the United States
Other ineligibility for Asylum include that the applicant:
- Have engaged in terrorist activity;
- Are engaged in or are likely to engage after entry in any terrorist activity
- Have, under any circumstances indicating an intention to cause death or serious bodily harm, incited terrorist activity;
- Are a representative of
- a foreign terrorist organization, as designated by the Secretary of State
- a political, social, or other similar group whose public endorsement of acts of terrorist activity the Secretary of State has determined undermines United States efforts to reduce or eliminate terrorist activities;
- Are a member of a foreign terrorist organization, as designated by the Secretary of State, or which you know or should have known is a terrorist organization;
- Have used a position of prominence within any country to endorse or espouse terrorist activity, or to persuade others to support terrorist activity or a terrorist organization, in a way that the Secretary of State has determined undermines United States efforts to reduce or eliminate terrorist activities.
Applying for Asylum
To apply for asylum, the applicant must complete the Form I-589 Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal, following its instructions carefully. This form is available at the USCIS website.
The process for applying depends on the applicant’s circumstance.
1. Applying for asylum for the first time, and have not been subject to a removal proceedings: File the Form I-589 at the Service Center having jurisdiction over your place of residence.
2. Previously applied for an denied asylum by the INS or USCIS or Previously included in a spouse’s or parent’s pending application but no longer qualified as a derivative: File the Form I-589 with the asylum officer having jurisdiction over your place of residence, including a letter with your application stating the denial of a previous application for asylum, also stating that the applicant is now filing independently for asylum. Reference the application in which the applicant is a dependent.
3. Currently in removal proceedings: File the Form I-589 with the immigration court having jurisdiction over the place of your residence.
4. Certain crewmembers, stowaways, individuals who entered the U.S. pursuant to the Visa Waiver Program: File the Form I-589 with the district director having jurisdiction over the place of residence.
When to Apply for Asylum
You must apply for asylum within one year of your last arrival in the United States, but you may apply for asylum later than one year if there are changed circumstances that materially affect your eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances directly related to your failure to file within one year.
Changed Circumstance include, but not limited to the following:
- changes in the conditions in the applicant’s country of origin, or if the applicant is stateless, the country of last residence;
- changes in the applicant’s circumstances which materially affect the latter’s eligibility for asylum such as changes in the U.S. applicable law, and activities where the applicant was involved out the country of feared persecution; or
- in case of an alien previously included as independent in another pending application for asylum, loss of spousal or parent-child relationship with the principal applicant through death, divorce, or attainment of age of 21.
Applicant will be barred from applying for asylum if the latter has been previously denied by the Immigration Judge or Board of Immigration Appeals, unless changes in the circumstances materially affecting the applicant’s eligibility for asylum were clearly demonstrated. Applicant will likewise be barred if the latter could be removed to a safe third country pursuant to a bilateral or multilateral agreement.
Extraordinary Circumstance include, but not limited to the following:
- serious illness, mental, or physical disability, including any effect of persecution or violent harm suffered in the past, during the 1-year period after arrival;
- legal disability during the 1-year period after arrival;
- ineffective assistance of counsel;
- the applicant maintained Temporary Protected Status, lawful immigrant or nonimmigrant status, or was given parole, until a reasonable period before the filing of the asylum application;
- the applicant filed an asylum application prior to the expiration of the 1-year deadline, but that application was rejected by the Service as not properly filed, was returned to the applicant for corrections, and was refiled within a reasonable period thereafter; or
the death or serious illness or incapacity of the applicant’s legal representative or a member of the applicant’s immediate family.
Decisions On Asylum
Upon submitting your application for Asylum, the Asylum Officer will evaluate the information provided on the application and the testimony of the applicant. The supplementary documents will be considered as well. The applicant’s country condition based from information from reliable sources will be noted, along with the relevant law found in the Immigration Nationality Act. Credibility of the applicant’s claim will be subject to scrutiny too.
Once granted asylum, applicant will have the asylee status. The asylee with recievea I-94 Arrival and Departure record documenting that the asylee is granted the privilege to remain indefinitely in the U.S. with the status of an asylee. The latter will likewise be authorized to work, obtaining an Employment Authorization Document.
The asylee may also request for derivative asylum status for his or her spouse and/or child/children. These children/child must be unmarried and under 21 years of age at the time of filing of asylum application. To do this, the asylee must petition to bring his or her spouse and children to the U.S. by filing a Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition. The asylee must also list his or her spouse and children on the Form I-589, regardless of their age, marital status, or whether they are in the United States or not.
Spouse and children of the asylee granted derivative asylum are likewise granted the privilege to remain in the United States incident to the asylee’s status.
Benefits of an Asylee:
- Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
- Unrestricted Social Security card
- Cash and medical assistance
- Employment assistance
- Refugee travel document
Filing for Permanent Residence (Green Card)
Asyless may apply for a green card one year after being granted asylym. To apply for a green card, the applicant must file a Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status. The asylee, along with his spouse or children, may file the same Form separately.
Working in the United States
Applicants for asylum cannot apply for employment authorization or permission to work in the U.S. at the same time of filing for an asylum. Work authorization may be applied for when:
- 150 days have passed since you filed your complete asylum application, excluding any delays caused by you (such as a request to reschedule your interview) AND
- No decision has been made on your application
Applicants granted an asylum may work immediately, while some asylees choose to obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) for convenience and identification purposes. EAD is not necessary to work in the case of asylees.
To apply for employment authorization, the asylee must file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. There is no fee to apply for your first EAD for those who have a pending asylum application or have been granted asylum.
You Need an Chicago Asylum Immigration Attorney for Your Asylum Application
If you think that you are eligible for asylum or refugee protection in the Unites States, you need to go through the bureaucratic procedures involved in the process. Apart from the required documentation, evidence, and proof required to establish your eligibility, you need go through an intricate verification process which could dictate the success of your application, or otherwise.
The laws affecting asylees and refugee could be complicated for those who are not very familiar with the same; thus, increasing your chances of being granted the status of an asylee calls for the assistance of an Immigration Lawyer to assist you through the process.
At The Gambacorta Law Office, we are passionate about helping refugees, understanding the pain and burden of persecution they have experienced. The least we can do is to provide refugees with dedicated, efficient, and effective legal assistance towards obtaining an asylee status for them.
If you believe that you are eligible for asylum, get in touch with us today to know more about how we can help your goal.