You Deserve To Have Your Story Heard
The right to seek asylum isn’t just an American concept, it’s an internationally recognized legal concept. Its global acceptance underscores its purpose: that no person should be persecuted in their country because of characteristics they cannot or should not have to change.
While the laws governing asylum stand for an ideal principle, securing a grant of asylum is difficult. Asylum law in the United States is complicated. Over the last few years, denials of asylum in the United States have increased.
You deserve to have your story heard. But you also deserve the best legal support to ensure you and your family do not return to the persecution you were forced to flee. Our attorneys at Estrella Law will vigorously pursue every option available to keep you and your family safe in the United States and obtain a grant of asylum.
The Asylum Process
The asylum process is challenging. As a person seeking asylum in the United States, you must prove that you are:
- eligible for asylum,
- a refugee, and
- that you merit a favorable exercise of discretion.
A “refugee” is someone in the United States who is unwilling or unable to return to their country because the government of that country cannot (or will not) protect them. Additionally, the refugee must have been persecuted or demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution because of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. While there are exceptions to the rule, generally all applications must be filed within one year of entering the United States. Additionally, there are multiple statutory bars to asylum that may render you ineligible for asylum.
Affirmative Applications: Affirmative asylums are applications filed with USCIS. Affirmative applications may not be filed if you are in removal proceedings. If USCIS denies your application, your case will move to immigration court, where you will have one more chance to have your asylum granted before an Immigration Judge.
Defensive Applications: If you are already in removal proceedings, you must file your case with immigration court. If the immigration judge grants your application, you will not receive an order of removal.
For more information on what to expect in immigration court, click here.
Benefits of Asylum
If your asylum is granted, you are entitled to several benefits, including:
- You are eligible to apply for a green card one year after approval.
- You are eligible to become a US citizen four years after getting your green card. For information on applying for citizenship, click here.
- You are immediately eligible to work. No work permit needed.
- Spouses and children of those granted asylum may also be granted asylum as a “derivative asylee.”
- You are eligible to apply for a travel document.
- You may obtain a Social Security number and Driver’s License.
Withholding of Removal
Every application for asylum is automatically considered an application for withholding of removal. While withholding to removal is similar to asylum, it has some key differences.
- First, there is a higher legal standard for withholding of removal.
- Second, a grant of withholding of removal is mandatory, unlike asylum, if certain factors are met.
- Third, spouses and children cannot gain derivative status through withholding of removal as they can under asylum.
- Fourth, even if you are granted withholding of removal, you will still receive an order of removal.
- Finally, withholding of removal does not offer a path to permanent residency.
United Nations Convention Against Torture
You may apply for protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT) along with your asylum application. To be granted protection under CAT, you must prove that it is “more likely than not” that you will be tortured if you return to your home country. There are multiple benefits under CAT. As with withholding for removal, protection under CAT is mandatory, meaning if you qualify, you must be granted protection under CAT. Another benefit under CAT is many of the bars to asylum do not apply to CAT.
How Estrella Law Can Help
At Estrella Law, we believe that every detail matters. We work closely with you to learn your story—no matter how long it takes. But that is only the beginning. We will scour the case law to ensure your case is legally sound, giving your case the best chance to succeed as we can.
We will do our best to help you gather every important document to support your case. We will prepare you to handle any question asked before your asylum interview at USCIS or individual hearing in immigration court. You will have our undivided attention at every step of your case.