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What is Asylum and Refugee Status?

As a “host country,” the U.S. government grants asylum or refugee status to foreign nationals who have been subjected to racial, religious, political or associational persecution in their home countries. Although they both describe a condition in which an individual may apply for protection from the government of a “host country,” there is an important legal distinction between “asylum” and “refugee status.” Individuals who wish to apply for refugee status in the United States must do so from outside of the country. Those who wish to apply for asylum must do so from within the United States. In other words, “asylees” are refugees who have already entered the United States by legal or illegal means. Refugees may reside in refugee camps or temporary housing facilities in third-party countries. Asylees have the opportunity to eventually become U.S. citizens. Call an asylum attorney today to learn about the path to citizenship for refugees.

Qualification for Asylum and Refugee Status

In order to qualify for asylum, foreign nationals must satisfy two basic criteria. First, they must provide evidence of a “well-founded fear” that they will face violence or persecution in their home countries. Since this is a subjective term, it is important that asylum applicants retain a competent immigration attorney to fight for their rights. According to past legal precedent, a “well-founded fear” can be interpreted as a 10 percent chance that an individual applicant will face imprisonment or targeted violence in his or her home country.

In addition, prospective “asylees” generally must apply for asylum within one year of entering the United States. This requirement may be waived on a case-by-case basis. Such waivers typically occur when it is obvious that the political climate in the asylee’s home country has deteriorated significantly since his or her arrival in the U.S.

Benefits of Asylum and Refugee Status

Foreign nationals whose asylum applications are approved may enjoy several benefits. These include:

  • Work authorization approval beginning six months after the application’s filing date
  • Ability to import certain qualifying relatives into the U.S. and secure work authorizations for these individuals
  • Eligibility for legal permanent residence beginning one year after the asylum application’s acceptance
  • Eventual path to citizenship

In addition, approved asylees will not be compelled to return to their home countries in the absence of positive political or social change. Talk to an asylum attorney today to get a thorough explanation of the benefits for those who qualify for asylum.

How We Can Help

The asylum lawyers at the Gutierrez Law Firm stand in solidarity with oppressed individuals from all over the world. Over the course of the past quarter-century, we have helped individuals from over a dozen countries secure safe, legal entry into the United States. We can facilitate asylum petitions in an expeditious manner and stand ready to assist our clients in any way that we can.

For more information about asylum for persecuted individuals, contact our compassionate asylum lawyers at 210.225.7114.

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