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Get Help Pursuing Asylum In The United States

You can seek asylum in the U.S. if you have a credible fear of persecution in your home country or if you have been persecuted in the past due to your race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. At Pastor & Associates P.C., we can determine if you qualify and help you through all stages of the asylum process.

Our immigration lawyers understand the stress and fears you’re facing. We take an aggressive, effective approach to getting you the legal status you need to feel safe again. Drawing on extensive experience in the immigration field, our attorneys have a trusted reputation among opposing counsel and immigration judges – a reputation that will benefit you. We have the skills needed to take on even the toughest of asylum cases.

How To Apply For Asylum And When To Do So

You can apply for asylum in the U.S. regardless of your immigration status. To submit an affirmative petition, you must be in the United States or at a port of entry (any place where you can legally enter the U.S. such as an airport or a bridge). Asylum is difficult to get in the United States. According to a report conducted by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, having a lawyer greatly increases your chance of winning your asylum case. With a lawyer, 49% of people were granted asylum. Without a lawyer, only 18% won asylum.

You must apply for asylum within one year after entering the U.S., although certain exceptions to that deadline may apply.

Showing Evidence Of Persecution

To get asylum, you must show that you were persecuted on the basis of certain protected grounds. While persecution based on race, religion or nationality may be easy to demonstrate, other grounds – like imputed political opinion or social group – are much harder cases. Our lawyers have experience handling these tough cases.

To qualify for asylum, you must also show that the persecutor is either the government or a group that the home government is unable or unwilling to control.

Membership In A Social Group

Social group encompasses gender, sexual orientation, refusal to join in criminal activities, and other potential grounds. The social group designation has been under attack in immigration law. These are the hardest cases in which to demonstrate persecution because a social group must be defined with particularity – meaning that it must be identifiable group of people viewed by government as a threat.

It is also often described as a group sharing a common characteristic that is so fundamental to their individual identities that the members cannot or should not be expected to change it. The shared characteristic might be something you were born with such as family ties, or it may be a shared experience such as former property ownership or former gang or military conscription.

Two Ways To Apply For Asylum

There are two types of asylum applications: defensive and affirmative. Read more about each type below.

Defensive Asylum Cases

Imagine you are picked up at the border, or detained in the United States by immigration officials, and you tell the immigration officials that you are afraid to return to your country. You are then put into the immigration court system for potential deportation (removal). Once you are in immigration court proceedings, you can apply for asylum before the immigration judge. This is called defensive asylum. The immigration judge will decide whether to grant the asylum.

You have one year from the date you entered the USA to file your asylum application with the court. You do not need to have a court date to file your application.

You will be given a master hearing date to appear in the immigration court. That is why it is important to keep the immigration court updated of any address changes so you can get all the notices. If you do not show up in court, you will be deported in absentia. Do not lose your opportunity to have your case heard in immigration court.

At the master hearing, you will be asked questions about the Notice to Appear (NTA). It is very important that you have your NTA.  You can get it from the officer at the border or the U.S. ICE (Immigration And Customs Enforcement) officer where you report. After that, you need to tell the immigration court that you want to apply for asylum. If you have not already filed an asylum application, the immigration judge will give you a date by which to file the application. This is very important.

You will then get a date for an individual hearing. This is like a trial where you get to present your case and the government presents its case. It’s critical to work with an experienced immigration lawyer by this point, if you haven’t already. The lawyer can help you prepare a strong case with the right kind of evidence.

Remember that for anything you file with the court, you should get a time-stamped copy for yourself. This is important evidence that you may need for filing motions.

Affirmative Asylum

If you have not been placed in immigration court proceedings, then you can file with the asylum office that handles cases for people residing in your state. The asylum office may not necessarily be in the state you live in. Likewise, when you enter the U.S. and are not placed in immigration court, you can file an affirmative asylum application with USCIS asylum office that handles cases in your state.

What Happens Next

If you win asylum, then you can apply for your green card after one year. In the meantime, you will be eligible for certain benefits including work authorization. If you do not get asylum, your case will be referred to an immigration judge, where you will have the chance to prove your case.

Frivolous Asylum Applications

A frivolous asylum application is one where a preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that the person knowingly filed an application with a deliberate misrepresentation of a material fact. The consequences are severe. You could be barred from ever receiving your green card, citizenship, or any ability to remain in the U.S. There are no waivers from this, even if you are married to a U.S. citizen or have U.S. citizen children. Never file a fake asylum application.

Maximize Your Chances Of Success By Working With Our Team

Asylum is a very serious matter. According to TRAC, which complies the denial and grant rates for asylum seekers in the United States, only one out of every 10 people seeking asylum without a lawyer wins their case.

At Pastor & Associates P.C., we have the necessary experience and knowledge to handle asylum applications both affirmatively and defensively. In particular, we handle social group cases involving sexual orientation and domestic violence. Learn more about how we can help you by contacting us online or calling 248-987-0757. Our attorneys speak various languages.