Asylum Lawyer in Newark Helping Immigrant Clients in Danger to Seek Asylum in the U.S.
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 17,692 people were granted asylum in the United States during the fiscal year of 2021, with the majority of asylum seekers coming from the countries of Venezuela, China, and El Salvador. The process of seeking asylum in the United States is not easy and requires multiple steps. Learn how asylum applications work and the role an asylum attorney can play in helping you with this process.
What Is Asylum?
Asylum is defined as a form of protection given to eligible immigrants who are being persecuted in their home country or have a well-founded fear of persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. An asylee (a person granted asylum status) can live and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation or future persecution.
An asylum seeker is someone who is already in the United States or who has arrived at a U.S. port of entry (as opposed to a refugee who is applying from outside the country). Once an asylum seeker’s application is approved, that person may request follow-to-join asylum status for their spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 who were not included in the original asylum request.
What Are the Requirements to Apply for Asylum in the U.S.?
In order to apply for asylum in the U.S., a foreign national must be physically present in the country or arrive at a U.S. port of entry. Regardless of their immigration status, the foreign person may apply for asylum but must do so within one year of their latest arrival date unless they can prove they have been dealing with changed or extraordinary circumstances.
The first step in the asylum application process is filing form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. It is worth mentioning that the USCIS may not accept an asylum application in this manner if you have not observed the 1-year arrival deadline or if you have either had a previous asylum application denied or may be able to be removed to a safe third country due to an agreement between the U.S. and other countries.
Once your application is received, you may be asked to come to a USCIS office for a fingerprinting appointment. Once your appointment is completed, you will receive a letter in the mail with the date, time, and location for your asylum interview. During the interview, you should bring your spouse and children (if they are applying for asylum with you) and can choose to bring your attorney, an interpreter, and witnesses (if needed).
The USCIS officer will analyze your application and the information gathered during your interview to determine if you are eligible to apply for asylum and meet the legal definition of a refugee. The officer may send your case to a supervisory asylum office for further analysis. In most cases, you will be asked to come back to the USCIS office where you were interviewed and pick up your decision after two weeks. In other cases, the decision may take longer or be mailed to you instead. It is worth mentioning that the steps above may apply to affirmative asylum applications, whereas defensive asylum applicants may need to undergo a different process.
What Is the Difference Between Affirmative and Defensive Asylum?
There are two paths for a foreign national to apply for asylum in the United States – affirmative asylum and defensive asylum. The differences are whether that person is currently undergoing removal proceedings (deportation) or not and whether the case is handled through a USCIS office or an immigration court.
If someone initiates an asylum application on their own and is currently in the United States (regardless of whether their entry into the country was legal or not) and is not currently in the custody of the DHS or undergoing removal proceedings, they may apply for affirmative asylum. If the individual has been arrested by the DHS or has otherwise been placed in removal proceedings, they may apply for defensive asylum. Unlike affirmative asylum applications, defensive asylum applications are handled through the immigration court, where a judge will make the final decision.
What Are the Benefits of Obtaining Asylum?
The main goal of granting asylum to a foreign national is to allow that person and their immediate family to remain in the United States and avoid persecution in their home country, enjoying the freedom to live without fear of being threatened for being or thinking in a certain way. In addition, those who are granted asylee status may later receive a work authorization (called an EAD or Employment Authorization Document), a social security number, and a refugee travel document and may qualify for cash assistance, employment, and medical assistance and may apply for permanent residency.
What Can an Asylum Lawyer Do to Help?
In order to obtain all the benefits that come with an approved asylum application, it is important for asylum seekers to retain a knowledgeable asylum lawyer to help increase their chances of a positive outcome. At the Law Office of Elsy Segovia, P.C., asylum seekers can get the skilled legal help they need to walk through the asylum process and get a chance at starting a new life in the USA. Reach out to our office in Newark, New Jersey, by calling 973-313-5794 to discuss your case and see how we may be able to help you.