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Political Asylum

Political Asylum

Political Asylum is guaranteed protection to foreign nationals in the United States who meet the requirement or law that defines them as a refugee. People come to the U.S. every year seeking protection from persecution due to race, religion, political opinion, or nationality.

Political asylum immigration law can be a complicated process as your safety depends on the precision of your application. The asylum lawyers at Scott D. Pollock & Associates P.C. can guide you through your process to help you stay safe and secure in the United States.

How Does Political Asylum Help?

Political asylum may protect individuals who, for various reasons, cannot return to their home country. Asylum helps individuals from having to return by granting them the ability to stay in the U.S., to apply for Social Security cards, to petition to bring family members to the U.S. and to apply for authorization to work.

Do You Have an Asylum Case?

If you fear being persecuted upon returning to your home country, you may have an asylum case in the United States. To qualify for political asylum, you must be fearful of harm based on religion, race, nationality, or political opinion in your home country.

In addition, the harm you fear must be categorized among human rights violations including but not limited to torture, physical violence, political detention, or serious emotional distress.

Asylum Eligibility

To be considered for Asylum, you must be in the United States for less than a year of filing your application. You must also provide evidence showing that you were persecuted in your country of origin. If you are fearful to return to your home country because there is a chance of persecution on the basis of:

  • Race
  • Nationality
  • Political stance
  • Religion
  • Part of a societal or social group

If you have a family, you can apply together on your application if your children are under 21 and unmarried.

If you are not sure whether or not you are eligible for asylum, contact your asylum attorney. You may be able to apply for “withholding of removal,” if eligibility does not quite match up.

Asylum Application Process

When an individual applies for protection by asylum, they are granted stay in the United States. Eventually, they will also be able to apply for work authorization, apply for a social security card, and petition to bring relatives into the country. The Affirmative Asylum application process will include the following:

  • You must first arrive in the United States and be physically present to apply for asylum
  • Form I-589 must be completed and submitted within one year of your most recent arrival in the U.S.
  • Once you have submitted your completed application, you will receive acknowledgment from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • After you have completed the fingerprinting and background check process through a USCIS Application Support Center, you will receive notice to appear for an interview
  • You, along with any spouses or children seeking asylum benefits, must attend the interview
  • The asylum officer will determine if you fit the criteria for a refugee; a decision may come as early as two weeks but can take longer in certain cases

Be mindful of the following conditions and requirements when applying for asylum:

  • You cannot apply for work authorization at the same time as applying for asylum
  • You must meet and interview with a USCIS asylum officer or appear before an immigration judge

You may not be eligible for asylum if you do not file within the first year you entered the United States, or if you had a previous application denied. If you are found to be inadmissible because of crime or unlawfulness, you may be moved to the Immigration Court for removal proceedings.

Working with an immigration attorney for asylum may be in your best interest as you complete your application. Working with an experienced lawyer can help make sure your application is filed correctly and in full.

Forms I-589 and I-765

Form I-589 is an application available for those who want to apply for asylum or those who want to withhold removal from the United States. After your form is completed and your application is submitted for asylum, you may be eligible to apply for work authorization. Work authorization can be submitted by completing Form I-765.

You are able to file your Form I-589 while in the United States, no matter how you arrived in the U.S. The form grants Asylum Status to those who apply before the one-year mark of your arrival to the United States. Along with the form itself, you must submit required evidence showing the reasons you are seeking asylum such as specific facts and proof of your country’s conditions, such as:

  • Medical records
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Journals or periodicals recording events
  • Photographs
  • Government documents
  • Testimonies
  • Affidavits from witnesses
  • Written statements about the dangers of being in your country from you or other expert accounts
  • Live statements

If you would like to apply for an Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal but have overstayed the deadline, you may still be able to file Form I-589 if you show you qualify for an exception. Contact your immigration attorney for the next steps to see if your situation is applicable for an exception.

Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, is a request for your Employment Authorization Document (EAD). You may still apply for employment authorization if your application for Asylum is pending after one calendar year. Form I-765 requires you to provide:

  • Your Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Record (Form I-94)
  • Two passport-style photographs
  • Past EAD if you were granted work authorization previously or a copy of your government-issued identity document.
  • Your Form G-28 if you worked with an asylum immigration attorney

As an asylee, working in the United States legally requires you have an EAD. You can show your official work authorization to an employer which grants you the ability to get hired and work for them.

Protection Under the Convention Against Torture

Convention Against Torture is not the same as political asylum. Convention Against Torture (CAT) can typically be granted if asylum has been denied. In order to be granted CAT, you must be able to prove that you are more likely than not to face torture and severe pain and suffering, whether by persecution or otherwise. Protection under the Convention Against Torture can be a good option, but may also be considered a last resort to avoid removal from the United States.

The two types of protection provided through Convention Against Torture:

  1. Withholding of Removal
  2. Deferral of Removal

Withholding of removal protects you from being removed to your specific county of origin, the country where you are more likely than not to face torture. That being said, you may still be removed to another country if you can legally remain there.

Deferral of removal is intended for those who are not allowed to return to their home country where they would face torture, yet they are still considered a threat. Threatening people to the United States are those who have been involved in terrorist activity or have been involved in other incriminating actions.

With CAT, depending on your type of right and position with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, you will be granted protection by not returning to your country of origin and have the ability to apply for an EAD. You cannot, however, be granted a green card or citizenship through your protection status.

If you have questions about a rejection of asylum and/or when to file for Convention Against Torture, speak with your asylum lawyer immediately. We can provide insight into your options.

Contact an Experienced Asylum Lawyer Today

If you are seeking asylum, Chicago immigration attorneys at our office can help navigate your application process. With over seven decades of combined experience, the asylum lawyers at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. are here to answer any questions you have about the process of applying for political asylum. We will work to help you seek the refuge you need. Contact a member of our team today at 312.444.1940. We can set up a consultation with an asylum immigration lawyer at our office right away. We look forward to working with you.

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