English translate Spanish translate alert

Can I apply for asylum if I was convicted of a crime?

If you need help filing an asylum application, Lluis Law’s asylum lawyers can help you file your asylum affirmatively with USCIS or defensively before the court. Our asylum attorneys have more than 40 years of experience in representing refugees through the complex asylum process here in Los Angeles.

In some cases it is possible, but everything will depend on the nature of the crime for which was convicted. Some people have impediments to request and receive asylum for several reasons, this is what is known as asylum bars, among which has been condemned for a “particularly serious crime”.

The asylum seeker also could not think of lying or hiding from the Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) the information related to the crime for which he was convicted, to avoid being taxed from an asylum bar. This is not a good idea under any circumstances.

The United States government will seek as much information as possible, starting with the criminal record of asylum seekers. Especially at present, in which both the procedure, the procedures and the application of the Immigration Law have undergone very profound changes that affect the asylum applications.

Asylum seekers are fingerprinted in order to maintain a record of entry to the United States but also to verify the criminal record of the applicant, inside and outside the country.

It should also be remembered that on Form I-589 and in the asylum interview, the applicant for this immigration benefit must mention any crime for which he or she has been convicted, as well as his criminal history. Because of not doing so and USCIS discovering that lied or omitted this information, could face an indictment for perjury, fines and other sanctions.

Bars for USCIS asylum grant

There are several circumstances or reasons why the immigration agency could exclude an immigrant from the asylum benefit. These are the following:

– Having been convicted of a “particularly serious crime”, meaning that it represents a danger to the United States.

– Committing a “non-political serious crime” outside the US.

– Order, incite, assist or participate in the persecution of a person for political reasons, race, nationality, religion or belonging to a certain social group.

– Represent a danger to US security.

– Have been resettled firmly in another country, prior to their arrival in the United States.

Even if the applicant meets the definition of “refugee” established by the Immigration Law, could not apply for asylum either, as these criminal asylum bars are mandatory. Nor could be eligible for asylum through a derivative application, that is, through the spouse or the beneficiary’s father or mother, because the bar prevents it.

Any criminal record of the applicant must be explained and explained in detail so that if does not have a bar for asylum, the request will not be denied. A consultation with the USCIS website on how to prepare and submit an application for affirmative asylum, as well as the help of a good immigration lawyer, is the best way to avoid making mistakes when filling out form I-589, Asylum Application and of Suspension of Removal.

What happens when the government determines that there is evidence of criminal offenses?

When the government of the United States finds that the asylum seeker has a criminal charge that could prevent him from seeking asylum, the immigrant or his or her attorney must demonstrate in court by means of a “preponderance of evidence” that the criminal charge is not applicable or that there is more than a 50 percent chance that the bar will not be applied to the applicant.

For this reason, it is so important to provide truthful and well-argued information about any criminal offense committed by the applicant previously, either during the asylum interview or before the immigration judge. The idea is that criminal records can be explained in the best way and help prevent the asylum application from being denied.

Other forms of relief

The expert immigration lawyer will have other available options available to the client for the client when it is not possible to apply for asylum due to the existence of a bar. Other forms of relief for immigrants in the United States are:

– Withholding of removal

– Protection under the Convention against Torture (CAT).

However, when the conviction is for an aggravated felony of at least 5 years in prison, it is prohibited to request the withholding of removal. It could also not serve this way when in the conviction for a serious crime drug trafficking is involved. In the case of CAT protection, criminal convictions do not establish a prohibition of eligibility.

If you need help filing the asylum or want a free consultation to determine if you are eligible for asylum after a criminal conviction, contact Lluis Law’s asylum lawyers. Our telephone number is (213) 320-0777.

Address: 205 South Broadway, Suite 1000 Los Angeles, CA 90012. Tel: (213) 687-4412 Fax: (213) 687-3441