By Ronald Castro
“To be legal in this country, I will apply for asylum and I’m set.”
“I request asylum and they give it to me for sure; it should not be so difficult, because I know a lot of people who have been approved.”
These comments and many others similar to these are heard repeatedly within the immigrant community, especially among those from my home country, Venezuela. This Latin American country is currently governed by a pseudo-democracy with all the characteristics of a well-established dictatorship.
So, what is asylum? Is it really so easy to get it? How does it work? Can all immigrants request it? It is important to begin by understanding that asylum is something that applies to those immigrants who are in the United States and who are reasonably afraid to return to their country of origin. This could be because they fear persecution based on (a) their race, religion, or nationality or because they belong to a special social group or (b) for their political opinions.
At this point, it is pertinent to highlight what is stated in the book: U.S. Immigration Made Easy:
“For some immigrants, getting out of their home country and finding [a] safe haven in a country like the United States is literally a matter of life and death. The immigration laws offer help to such people, although the door is not as open as you might wish.”
In order to request asylum, the immigrant must be in the United States. They must establish a cause for the request, such as a genuine threat or fear based on specific situations. And this cause must be supported by U.S. law, which helps determine whether immigrants can apply for asylum.
There are many more considerations that the immigrant must take into account when thinking about applying for asylum; they must submit their application within one year of their arrival in the United States. Another one is that they must not have been convicted of any serious crime by a court in their home country.
Although asylum may be a way to obtain legal status in the United States, it must be sufficiently grounded, which is why it is imperative that should consult with a lawyer who is well versed in asylum cases. This is especially important because there is currently considerable political debate around immigration, which has made immigration authorities more rigorous while requests for asylum grow. Nowadays, each case is studied more thoroughly, so that the number of rejected applications has also increased, in many cases because certain applicants do not provide sufficient compelling reasons to support their requests.
Ronald Castro is a student in the Chamber Coalition Paralegal Certificate Program. For details about this program, please visit www.freeparalegal.org
If you need advice relating to this particular immigration issue or any other legal matter, please call 855-768-8845 or visit www.askthelawyer.us to schedule a free case evaluation. Remember, the lawyer you hire, does make a difference!