If you have faced persecution in your home country or believe you will become the subject of future persecution should you ever return, you will likely seek safety wherever possible. Many turn to the United States, a country that has long valued freedom of speech, religion, expression, and identity.
While the United States accepts those fleeing from persecution, obtaining asylum status can be extremely difficult. Our Orlando asylum lawyers at Angel Law Firm, PL can support you in this endeavor and do everything possible to get you the protection that you need. Whether you are seeking refugee status from abroad or have been detained at a border access point, our team has the knowledge and experience to support you.
Qualifying for Asylum or Refugee Status
Asylum and refugee status effectively confer the same protections, but how they are sought differs. One seeks asylum when they are already unlawfully present in the United States. One can also seek asylum by presenting oneself at the U.S. border. Refugees request protection while abroad and, if successful, are permitted to enter the country.
In order to qualify for refugee, asylum status, or withholding of removal, you will need to demonstrate that you are the victim of past persecution or reasonably fear future persecution in either your home country or your last country of residence. Persecution is generally defined as any act of harm, violence, or unlawful imprisonment.
Your fear of persecution must be rooted in one or some combination of the following grounds:
- Your race
- Your religion
- Your nationality
- Your political beliefs
- Your membership in a particular social group
In other words, if you have been previously imprisoned, threatened, or hurt as a result of your race, religion, nationality, political opinions, or membership in a particular social group, you may be eligible for asylum or refugee status in the United States. Should you have a legitimate reason to believe you could be imprisoned or harmed should you return to your home country due to one or more of these grounds, you may also qualify.
“Particular social groups” can encompass a number of categories depending on the cultural and political climate of the home country. This might include members of the LGBTQ community, family members of a political dissident, or certain ethnic groups. In some cases, the U.S. will recognize women as a protected “particular social group” if their continued or future presence in their home country is likely to result in gendered violence.
Note that the fear of persecution does not necessarily have to be rooted in your home country’s government. Paramilitaries, vigilantes, warring tribes, and other violent factions can also qualify as reasons for legitimate fear if the government is unable or unwilling to control them.
Proving the basis for your well-founded fear of persecution can be tremendously challenging. An otherwise legitimate request for asylum or refugee status can be rejected due to a lack of compelling evidence or argumentation. You must be able to convincingly prove that any other person would have the same reasonable fears of returning to your home country if they were in your position. Credible witness testimony and other concrete pieces of evidence can support can help you make your case.
Our Orlando asylum attorneys can evaluate the factors motivating you to seek asylum or refugee status and determine if you have a case. We can help you understand how the process works and the likelihood of achieving a favorable outcome.
Benefits of Asylum or Refugee Status
Both asylees and refugees who have been granted protections have the right to live and work in the United States indefinitely. They also gain access to some government support programs. Crucially, both asylees and refugees have the ability to apply for green cards, which confer lawful permanent residency, after 1 year of living in the United States. Asylees and refugees can also seek permanent U.S. citizenship once they have had their green cards for at least 4 years.
Our Orlando asylum lawyers at Angel Law Firm, PL can work to help you access these powerful protections and benefits. Rules and policy directives governing asylees and refugees are constantly changing, but we understand how these cases are decided and will do everything possible to support you.
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