Articles Tagged with Asylum

This blog is not intended to be a substitute for legal representation.  It does not create an attorney client relationship. The advice given in this blog is general in nature, and may (or may not) apply to your own particular situation.  Immigration law is always changing, and the information provided here is subject to change at anytime.  Again, for anyone with an immigration issue it is recommended to hire an immigration lawyer immediately.

Asylum Strategies

1. Don’t delay.  Asylum cases are time sensitive.  If the application is not filed within 1 year of the applicants last entry into the United States the claim will be prohibited, unless an exception to the filing deadline applies.  Exceptions include a change in circumstances or extraordinary circumstances that prevented the timely submission of the asylum application.  If the lateness is due to a change in circumstance or an extraordinary circumstance, the filing must occur within a reasonable time after the changed or extraordinary circumstance.  If the asylum claim is barred, the applicant might find still relief under withholding of removal or the convention against torture (CAT).  However, these alternatives are harder to substantiate than asylum.  Also, memories can fade over time, so delay can impact the strength of a case.  Documents and records that corroborate a claim might become unavailable or destroyed after a period of time, so going forward in a timely manner is crucial.

A person inside the United States can obtain asylum for himself or herself (and derivatively for the asylum applicant’s spouse and/or unmarried children under 21 years old) if he or she can demonstrate that he or she has suffered past persecution or has a well founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.  Persecution in some circumstances may include, but is not limited to, physical abuse, mental abuse, interference with a person’s privacy, being forced to live in substandard dwellings, exclusions from work or educational institutions, constant surveillance, forced family planning, mutilation, etc.  Whether or not a individual was or might be persecuted, or has a well founded fear of persecution, is a matter of interpretation.  Persecution must amount to more than mere harassment or annoyance.  Persecution can be either by the government or a group that the government cannot or will not control. If the applicant can establish past persecution, there is a presumption of future persecution.  If past persecution is established there is a presumption of persecution and the burden shifts to the government to rebut that presumption. It is up to the applicant to prove a nexus (meaning that there is a relationship) between the past or feared persecution and its connection to the race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion of the applicant.

An asylum applicant only needs to show that there is a reasonable possibility that he or she will be persecuted.  The well founded fear must be established both subjectively (meaning that the applicant actually has the fear)  and objectively (meaning that there are specific facts through objective evidence or through persuasive credible testimony and that this evidence would cause a reasonable person to experience a fear of persecution).  According to the important case of Matter of Mogharrabi, 19 I&N Dec. 439 (BIA 1987), there are 4 elements that the asylum applicant must show in order to establish a well-founded fear of persecution (1) the applicant possesses a belief or characteristic a persecutor seeks to overcome in others by means of punishment of some sort; (2) the persecutor is already aware, or could become aware, that the applicant possesses this belief or characteristic; (3) the persecutor has the capability of punishing the applicant; and (4) the persecutor has the inclination to punish the applicant.
In order to gain asylum, the alien must persuade the Asylum Officer or Immigration Judge that he or she is credible.  It is recommended that you hire the experienced immigration lawyers at Hilf & Hilf, PLC to handle your asylum claim.  Pursuant to the REAL ID Act, an Immigration Judge may grant asylum based on the testimony of the applicant, but only where the applicant is credible, is persuasive, and refers to specific facts sufficient to demonstrate that the applicant is a refugee.  Unless the Asylum Officer and/or Immigration Judge is satisfied that the applicant cannot reasonably obtain the evidence, the Asylum Officer and/or Immigration Judge may require additional evidence to corroborate the applicant’s testimony.  In the vast majority of cases, due to the REAL ID Act, corroboration is required.  What will be considered as corroborating evidence depends upon the specific facts of the applicant’s case.  Examples of items which may constitute corroborating evidence include: affidavits, letters, newspaper articles, arrest records, medical records, photographs, etc., etc.  Obviously, the quality, quantity, and credibility of the corroborating evidence all play a role in the decision reached as to the claim for asylum.  All exhibits in a language other than English must have certified translations provided.

Victims of crime may become eligible for immigration benefits, such as obtaining lawful permanent residence and citizenship, through different provisions of United States Immigration Law.  To seek these provisions, if is highly recommended that you are represented by an experienced immigration lawyer, such as attorney Sufen Hilf.

1. VAWA (Violence Against Women Act), a spouse, parent, or child who is suffers extreme cruelty or battery may file a self petition for lawful permanent resident status.  This can be done without the knowledge of the abuser. Despite the name of this immigration law, it applies to both men and women
2. Cuban Adjustment Act – applies to abused spouses of Cubans

The following are summaries of different types of Immigration relief from removal that are discretionary, and is not intended to serve as the substitute from seeking the advice of a competent immigration lawyer, such as the attorneys at Hilf & Hilf, PLC.

If during Immigration proceedings an alien is found to be removable, he or she can request different forms of discretionary relief.  The alien has the burden of proving that he or she is eligible to receive the requested form of relief under United States law, and that a hearing officer or Immigration Judge should exercise his or her discretion to grant the requested relief.
Voluntary Departure – Voluntary departure is different from simply leaving the United States.  One way of receiving voluntary departure is to make an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) prior to removal proceedings.  A second option for voluntary departure involves going to the Court and requesting voluntary departure.  The Court request can be made at anytime during the deportation proceedings.  If the Court grants the relief, the alien is asked: to confirm that this is what he or she wants to do; if the alien has any arrests and criminal convictions;whether previously the alien has been removed before or voluntarily departed before; whether or not the alien has a passport; whether or not the alien has the financial ability to pay for transportation from the United States; the date that the departure will occur (it has to be within 120 days).  Voluntary departure will not be granted to person that are deportable as an aggravated felon or as a terrorist.

Immigration law is a very complex, and rapidly changing, area of law.  When an application is submitted, Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) uses the submitted information for several purposes:

FIRST: the information is used in conjunction with deciding if a benefit (such as asylum, residency, different visas) should be granted.
SECOND: the information can be used to determine if the non citizen should be placed into removal (deportation) proceedings.