Immigration and asylum can be confusing for families seeking refuge in the United States. They come in “tired, huddled masses” hoping to find freedom under the light of Lady Liberty’s torch.
Refugees in flight rarely have any idea of the legal processes governing immigration and asylum at their chosen destination. Their pressing need is to escape whatever persecution or situation they fear in their home country.
The United States continues to be a safe haven for the world. Some arrive at our borders only to be confounded by the need to prove to a uniformed stranger why they should be granted asylum. Others, perhaps a bit more aware of the system, find ways to enter the country at places other than controlled border crossings. Sooner or later, they, too, will need to apply for asylum to remain in the U.S.
Asylum is a Process
Whether requesting asylum at the border or as an undocumented resident, asylum is not granted by a simple “yes.” One must apply. The application begins a process that, hopefully, results in approval.
- Undocumented residents are required to apply for asylum within one year entering the U.S. Applying later than one year does not mean that obtaining asylum is impossible, but it does mean that getting approval may be much more difficult. Twenty percent of applicants who file beyond the deadline are denied. Another way to look at it is that there could be an 80 percent chance of being approved.
The Asylum Process Takes Time
“In 2016, the U.S. immigration court and asylum systems were backlogged with more than 620,000 (cases) pending.”
- Those seeking asylum at the border (affirmative asylum) experience an average processing time of two years.
- Those seeking asylum in immigration court (defensive asylum) experience an average processing time of three years.
The Asylum Seeker Has To Live Somewhere
This could be the biggest obstacle in the asylum process. Although some asylum seekers may be permitted to reside temporarily in the U.S., whether the applicant is already a resident or is applying at the border, they may be subject to detention.
- Because the process takes time, it is possible that some applicants could be held in detention for several months or more.
What Happens When Someone Receives Asylum?
The process may take a while, but the result is that, once an applicant has been granted asylum,
- They may apply for lawful permanent residency (Green Card) after only one year.
Once granted a Green Card,
- They may apply for U.S. citizenship after four years.
Nearly 25,000 Immigrants Receive Asylum Each Year
Regardless of your current status, your situation is not hopeless. Because that number includes both affirmative and defensive applicants, those who seek the advice and representation of legal counsel have a significant chance of success.
Asylum Seekers Should Seek Legal Counsel
Immigration laws are complicated, the system is overtaxed, and the process is lengthy. For these reasons, we advise any person seeking asylum to speak with an experienced immigration attorney before attempting to apply to enter the process.
Our staff of multilingual immigration and immigration law experts is available to help you navigate the asylum process. Contact us at www.Business-Visa-USA.com, www.Business-Visa-USA.cn, www.Business-Visa-USA.hk and www.Business-Visa-USA.ru.
As always, we welcome your input and discussions about immigration on our LinkedIn group: Business and Immigration News & Views https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8140530.
Note: Offer of services is not a guarantee of results. Every case is adjudicated on its own merits. We can help to determine your eligibility and direct you through the process.