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Aliens who are eligible for asylum in the USA can obtain a form of protection from removal from the country.

If you need legal assistance to file an application for political asylum in the United States, the immigration lawyers in Los Angeles at Lluis Law will be able to help you effectively in this process.


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The Right To Asylum In The USA In 2024

The United States recognizes the right of asylum to certain aliens as specified in international refugee law. According to the annual report of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in 2020 asylum was granted to 31,429 individuals.

  • During that same year, DHS admitted a total of 11,840 individuals under refugee status;
  • Theoretically, according to the Geneva Conventions on Human Rights, an individual fleeing their country of origin is subject to protection in a host country;
    • This means that the right to asylum must be recognized in any country. However, each state has the power to grant it to those who qualify according to legal regulations.

If you are a national foreigner and believe you qualify for this immigration relief, do not hesitate to contact our firm. The immigration attorneys at Lluis Law have over 50 years of combined experience dealing with these matters. 

Latest Political Asylum News In The United States

The US Supreme Court ruled on June 30, 2022 that President Joe Biden can end the Migrant Protection Protocols, known as “Quédate en México” (Remain in Mexico);

This is a victory for the right to asylum, but still the majority of applicants at the US-Mexico border continue to be removed under Title 42 without having their requests for protection considered.

right of asylum in the usa

What Is Political Asylum In The United States?

Political asylum is a form of protection that allows aliens to remain in the United States. This protection prevents them from being deported to their country of origin where they fear being harmed or persecuted. 

Aliens can qualify for political asylum in the USA if they can prove that they are persecuted in their country of origin for any of the following reasons:

  • Race;
  • Religion;
  • Political opinion;
  • Nationality;
  • Membership in a certain social group.

Also, applicants can only apply for asylum if they are physically present in the US and are not US citizens.

Note: Persecution is a type of serious abuse that damages the life or liberty of an individual. Generally, it can include harassment, severe physical harm, illegal punishment, threats of harm and others. 

What Are The Benefits Of Applying For Asylum In The USA?

Asylees will be protected from being returned to their country of origin. In addition, they will be able to access the following benefits:

  • Apply for a Social Security Card;
  • Apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD);
  • Request a permit to travel abroad;
  • Access to various government programs, including:
    • Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA),
    • Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA).
  • Request that certain relatives obtain refuge in America or asylum, regardless of whether they are abroad. 

Types Of Asylum In The United States

There are two types of political asylum in the USA:

refugees boat

Affirmative Asylum

Affirmative asylum is the standard asylum sought by individuals who are not in any deportation or removal proceedings. The applicant must be present in the US and can apply for this right at any port of entry into the country.

  • This type of asylum is considered a proactive approach, since applicants make a claim before the deportation process begins;
  • As a general rule, applicants must file the appropriate form for asylum within one year of arrival in the US;
  • In case of not speaking English, the applicant must provide a qualified interpreter for the interview conducted for this immigration relief.

Defensive Asylum

When asylum seekers are already in deportation or removal proceedings from the US through immigration court, the process becomes one of defensive asylum. 

The individuals petition the government to reverse the deportation decision and allow them to continue in the US as asylees. An immigration judge will make the decision, regardless of any prior decision by USCIS.

An asylum case can become a defensive case if one of the following occurs:

  • The individual first applied for affirmative asylum and said application was not approved. The individual was subsequently placed in removal proceedings;
  • The individual attempted to enter the United States without proper documents and a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer believes there is reason to believe the individual’s life or safety is in danger;
  • Immigration officials place the individual in removal proceedings for having committed an immigration violation. For example, unlawful presence;
  • The individual applies for asylum at the border.

Individuals in defensive asylum must go to removal hearings in immigration court. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) is responsible for the arguments against the applicant and in favor of her deportation.

If you find yourself in these cases, you have the opportunity to defend yourself and have an attorney. Our attorneys are experts in representing aliens in immigration court.

Asylum Process In The United States In 2024

elegible for asylum

The process for applying for asylum in the USA is as follows:

  1. Apply for asylum while in the United States by submitting to USCIS Form I-589, Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal;
  2. Complete fingerprinting and background check at a local Application Support Center (ASC);
  3. Wait to receive notification of the asylum interview;
  4. Attend the interview. The applicant can bring their attorney, as well as their spouse and children seeking asylum. If you do not know English, you can bring an interpreter;
  5. The asylum officer will determine if the applicant is eligible to apply for asylum. In addition, a supervising officer will review the officer’s decision to ensure that the applicant is consistent with what is required by law;
  6. Wait for the decision. Generally, the applicant must return to the asylum offices within two weeks for a decision on their application. 

What Happens If I Do Not Submit The Asylum Application On Time?

Applicants may only apply for asylum within one year of their last entry into the US, unless they qualify for a waiver of that requirement. If they do not submit the form within the stipulated time, they will not be eligible to apply for asylum.

An exception to the requirement to file within one year is made if the alien can show that the delay was due to an extraordinary circumstance or because there was a change that affected his or her eligibility. 

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) establishes several exceptional circumstances within one year. Among the most common are:

  • The death of the spouse, child, father or mother;
  • Aggression or extreme cruelty towards your person, your child, father or mother;
  • A serious illness in the spouse, child, father or mother.

Consult with our experienced immigration attorneys at Lluis Law to find out if you qualify for an exceptional circumstance at the time of this application.

Asylum For Immediate Relatives

The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of the asylum seeker can also benefit from this immigration benefit. Regardless of whether or not they are present in the US To do so:

  • The applicant must complete Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition, for each qualifying relative;
  • The applicant has two years to apply from the date of asylum approval;
  • In the case of requested spouses, the rule establishes that they must be married before submitting the request. Federal law accepts same-sex marriages as well.

What Documents Are Needed To Obtain Asylum In The United States?

Asylum seekers must submit the following documents:

  • Original Form I-589 and two copies of said form. They must be complete and signed, including the complementary pages and the affidavits;
  • Form G-28, Notice to Appear as Attorney or Authorized Representative. It must be signed by both the applicant and the attorney or accredited representative;
  • Three copies of all medical reports or evaluations submitted in support of the application;
  • Three copies of the following supporting documentation:
    • Passport;
    • Travel documents;
    • Identity documents;
    • Marriage certificate (in case the spouse is included);
    • Birth certificates (if there are children under the age of 21 included in the application);
    • Documentation of the conditions in your country of origin.
  • An additional copy of the completed application for each family member present in the US who is listed on the application;
  • A passport-style photograph of the applicant and each family member included in the application (required to be taken no more than 30 days prior to application).

Documents For The Day Of The Affirmative Asylum Interview

  • An identification document can be:
    • Passport that you have in your possession; 
    • Form I-94, entry/exit document (if you received it when you entered the United States); 
    • Other travel or identification documents.
  • Original marriage certificates, birth certificates, and any other documents you previously filed with Form I-589;
  • A copy of Form I-589 and any additional documents you have submitted, if the asylum office does not have such information;
  • Any additional documentation evidencing your claim and that you have not previously submitted in conjunction with the application;
  • If the spouse and/or children under the age of 21 were included as derivatives in the application:
    • They must bring any identity, travel or other evidence of identity that they have.
  • An interpreter, in case you do not know how to speak English;
  • A certified translation of any document that is not in English:
    • Any document that is not in English must be accompanied by an English translation certified by the translator in a correct and complete manner;
    • The translator must certify that he or she is competent to translate the language used in the document into the English language.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Political Asylum In The United States?

The biggest disadvantage of applying for asylum here, obviously, is that the beneficiary cannot travel to their country of origin and sometimes to other countries or within the same country.

In addition, the government can exercise control or supervision activities over the asylum beneficiary for reasons of State security.

  • Similarly, asylum recipients may not have access to certain jobs and social benefits, which are reserved only for American citizens;
  • Another disadvantage of political asylum in the USA is that the government may determine that the applicant does not qualify as an asylum seeker.
    • Consequently, the government may decide to deport the applicant and bar them from entering the country again;
  • Without expert legal advice for this process, the applicant may make basic mistakes that would lead to the denial of their application.
how to legally enter the united states

Our attorneys have advised hundreds of immigrants to obtain this immigration relief. They have even helped them know how to legally enter the United States.

How Long Does It Take To Obtain Asylum In The USA?

INA states that USCIS makes a decision on an asylum application in the United States within 180 days. This time begins after the date the asylum application is filed, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

USCIS may require additional processing time if the applicant:

  • Was interviewed at a local USCIS office;
  • Has a case that is being reviewed by the task force at USCIS headquarters;
  • Has a non valid immigration status;
  • Currently has security checks in process. 

Generally, in these scenarios, USCIS could send the decision of the case to the applicant by mail. Similarly, applicants can also check their case status online through the USCIS website.

How Long Do Asylum Interviews Take?

The length of time asylum interviews take depends on the applicant’s case. Since 2018, the USCIS Asylum Division has been scheduling asylum interviews in order of priority:

  • First Priority: For applications that were scheduled for an interview, but the interview was rescheduled at the request of USCIS or the petitioner;
  • Second Priority: For applications that have been pending for 21 days or less from the date they were submitted;
  • Third Priority: All pending affirmative asylum applications will be scheduled for interviews, starting with the most recently filed and going backwards to the oldest. 

What Is a Credible Fear Interview?

The credible fear interview is an interview that the USCIS officer conducts to the asylum applicant to verify that there is a solid existing basis in the fear of returning to their country of origin.

  • Typically, at the US-Mexico border when an individual applies for asylum, a preliminary interview takes place;
  • This interview is practiced by a CBP officer and he establishes if the applicant goes to the next level. That is, to the formal ‘credible fear’ interview conducted by a USCIS officer.

Can I Reschedule The Asylum Interview Appointment?

Applicants can reschedule their asylum interview appointment, but they will need to send a letter to the asylum office where the interview is scheduled. The letter must include the reason and relevant evidence needed for your rescheduling.

credible fear interview

Who Qualifies For Asylum In The United States?

Who can request asylum in the USA? Under US law, individuals who flee their countries because they fear persecution may qualify to apply for asylum in the United States.

However, it should be noted that in some circumstances, the alien may not be eligible to apply for asylum.

Who Cannot Request Asylum In The USA?

 If one of the following circumstances occurs, the alien will not qualify for asylum:

  • May be transferred to a safe third country under a two or more party agreement between the US and other countries;
  • You missed the one-year deadline to file Form I-589. This period of time is calculated from the date of your last arrival in the US or April 1, 1997, whichever is later;
  • An immigration judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denied the earlier application for asylum;
  • The alien was convicted of a particularly serious crime or committed a serious political crime outside the US and/or is a threat to US security;
  • You ordered, incited, participated in any form of persecution of any individual for reasons of nationality, religion, race, political opinion, or membership in a social group;
  • Has incited or been involved in terrorist activities, or is part of a terrorist organization;
  • Persuaded others to support terrorist activities or a terrorist organization;
  • Received military-type training in or on behalf of an organization that, at the time of the training, was a terrorist organization;
  • You are the child or spouse of an individual who within the past 5 years is inadmissible for any of the reasons listed above.

If for some reason you do not qualify to apply for asylum, do not worry, you may be able to qualify for other immigration relief. Our immigration attorneys are specialists in deportations, so they can help you in this scenario.

What Are other Forms Of Immigration Relief Similar To Asylum?

In addition to asylum, there are other forms of relief that can be used when the foreign national does not qualify. Among these forms of relief are:

What Is Needed To Apply For Asylum For Venezuelans In The United States?

To apply for asylum, Venezuelans must file Form I-589 within 1 year of entering the United States. This application process is the same for any national foreigner.

Keep in mind that it is not easy to get asylum in the USA, so it is advisable to consult with an immigration attorney to find out if you are eligible before applying. Our lawyers at Lluis Law will be able to help you with this matter. 

venezuelan adjustment act

There is currently a project for Venezuelans known as the Venezuelan Adjustment Act. As of the date of the article, it has not become law, but if it were, it could allow Venezuelans to more easily apply for a Green Card.

Background Checks And Security Screenings

Asylum seekers must go through an evaluation beyond biometric data to determine that they do not have current or past criminal associations or suspicious activities. This includes:

  • External activity;
  • Travel history;
  • Criminal records;
  • Potential fraud, including identity theft;
  • Any type of intelligence record that may refer to the applicant, as well as terrorist watch lists;
  • Immigration records;
  • Links to organizations that may pose a threat to the US.

Some of the government agencies that work with USCIS are: The Department of Defense (DOD), ICE, the National Counterterrorism Unit, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Department of State (DOS).

How Long Does Asylum Last In The United States?

Once an individual has been granted asylum, they can remain in the United States indefinitely. Additionally, asylees will be able to apply for a Green Card within one year of entering the United States.

What Happens After USCIS Grants Asylum?

After an individual is granted asylum by USCIS, they can legally live and work in the US The beneficiary will have access to medical assistance through the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

  • USCIS provides an approval letter and an I-94 record granting asylum as evidence that the individual may have such benefits;
  • USCIS grants asylum to the spouse and children of the principal applicant, as long as they are included on the I-589 application;
  • A grant of asylum in the US does not expire, but USCIS can cancel the asylum status if the individual:
    • You no longer have a well-founded fear of being persecuted in your country due to a fundamental change in circumstances;
    • You got protection in another country;
    • Obtained the original asylum grant by fraudulent actions;
    • You committed certain crimes or engaged in activities that make you ineligible for continued asylum status in the United States.
  • After one year with the asylum, the beneficiary can obtain the Green Card through the adjustment of status
  • If you become a permanent resident through asylum, after several years and meet the necessary requirements, the individual can become a US citizen.

Can I Appeal My Asylum Case?

If the applicant has had their asylum application denied, they can appeal their case to an immigration judge to have the application re-reviewed by that judge.

  • If USCIS reviewed the case. This will automatically refer the case to an immigration court. Once there, the immigration judge will review the case and make his decision.
  • If EOIR reviewed the case. The applicant may appeal the immigration judge’s decision to the BIA by filing Form EOIR-26, a notice of appeal, within 30 days of the decision.

Note: EOIR stands for Executive Office for Immigration Review. If you want to know if you can win an immigration appeal process, check our corresponding blog.

Latino Asylum Attorneys In Los Angeles

Now that you know how asylum works in the USA, this process can be complex, especially the defensive one. This is because the applicant will generally be detained for a short period of time.

During these periods, the applicant will be in deportation proceedings, so it is essential to have an experienced immigration attorney by your side to resolve these situations.

The lawyers at Lluis Law have the prestige of having more than 50 years of combined experience in this matter. If you are looking for solid defense or legal advice regarding affirmative or defensive asylum or any other immigration process, do not hesitate to contact us. 


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