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What does it mean to seek asylum in the U.S.?

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2023 | Immigration

Asylum represents a lifeline for individuals fleeing persecution and violence in their home countries. In legal terms, a nation protects someone who has left their native country as a political refugee. This is essential in international law and human rights; understanding it in detail is crucial in today’s global landscape.

The principle of asylum finds its roots in ancient civilizations, but its modern interpretation is governed by international law. It is designed to safeguard the rights and well-being of those at risk of persecution.

Asylum: A sanctuary from persecution

At its core, asylum protects individuals who are unable or unwilling to return to their home country due to a well-founded fear of being persecuted. This persecution must be based on at least one of five grounds: race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. It is a mechanism that protects individuals from being returned to places where their life or freedom would be threatened.

Two types of asylum: Affirmative and defensive

There are typically two types of asylum processes: affirmative and defensive. Affirmative asylum is when an individual not in removal proceedings seeks protection, while individuals seek defensive asylum as a defense against removal from the U.S.

The asylum process: A complex path

The asylum process can be complex and lengthy. It usually involves filing an application, undergoing a background check and attending an interview or court hearing. Immigration judges or asylum officers then make decisions regarding the outcome of the application.

Rights and responsibilities of asylees

Once granted asylum, individuals can apply for certain benefits, including the right to work, the opportunity to apply for a Social Security card and sometimes financial and medical assistance. They also have the right to apply for permanent resident status one year after being granted asylum.

Seeking asylum isn’t a fast process, but it can provide great benefits. Because the laws change often in this area of the law, it’s best to have a legal professional on your side who can help you navigate the process.