What is Asylum Immigration?
Thousands of people from across the world come to the United States each year and apply for asylum. So what is Asylum? Asylum is a form of protection provided by the United States government to individuals that have a well-founded fear of persecution based on religion, race, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
The persecution that the U.S. government is willing to protect asylum seekers from must be either carried out by the government of a foreign country or a group that the government is unable or unwilling to control.
What is Persecution? Although not specifically defined by U.S. immigration law, courts have held that “a threat to life or freedom on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group is always persecution.” Some categories that may rise to the level of persecution are: severe criminal extortion or robbery, severe brutality and physical harm, coercive and forceful medical treatment (abortion), disproportionate punishment or discriminatory prosecution, severe economic persecution, and much more.
Only people who are already inside of the United States may apply for asylum. It does not matter whether you came to the U.S. illegally, came to the U.S. legally but overstayed, or came to the U.S. legally and are still in valid status; anybody can apply for asylum as long as the criteria above is met. People who are granted asylum also enjoy many benefits including work authorization and eligibility for a green card.
Below are some examples of valid claims to asylum based on either religion, race, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
- Example of Asylum Based on Religion: I am Christian living in an Islamic country and my government jails Christians or punishes them for practicing Christianity. I fear that I will be jailed or punished based on my religion.
- Example of Asylum Based on Race: I am a white man living in a country where white men are physically abused by the government or even killed. I fear that I will be killed or harmed by my government because I am white.
- Example of Asylum Based on Nationality: My government is trying to kill or seriously harm me because my parents were from a different country that my government dislikes. I fear that I will be seriously harmed.
- Example of Asylum Based on Social Group: I am a gay man living in a country that is homophobic. In my country, gangs and mobs kill gay people and the government is not willing to stop them. I fear I will be killed by these gangs.
- Example of Asylum Based on Political Opinion: My country’s president is a dictator. I have gone on television and spoken about how I despise the president and the way he runs our country. Now, the president has ordered security and police to arrest me. I fear that I will be jailed and harmed based on my political opinion.
These are a few simple examples. Always remember, each case is evaluated on its merits and must be analyzed individually. If you would like to know whether or not you have a strong asylum case, call the Eman Law Group today and speak with an experienced asylum attorney.