Every year, the United States allows legal entry into the country for thousands of immigrants who are seeking asylum. This immigration program is meant for refugees who are fleeing persecution in their home countries.
The topic of asylum comes up often in the news media, but news reports rarely explain what it means and how the system works. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the basics of this important program.
To be eligible for asylum, the applicant must have a reasonable fear of persecution in their home country. This persecution may involve physical violence, harassment, discrimination and threats and may be based on the person’s political beliefs and activities, religious beliefs and practices and gender.
To apply for asylum, the applicant must be physically present in the United States and must complete an application within one year of their arrival.
Many people request asylum at a point of entry to the United States. This is allowed by law.
Others request asylum when they are already facing removal proceedings.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may ask the applicant to attend a biometric appointment and attend an interview. USCIS will make a decision on the asylum application. While the application is pending, the applicant may be able to apply for a work authorization.
If the application is approved, the applicant can apply for a green card, also known as lawful permanent residence, after one year in the United States. If it is denied, the applicant has a right to appeal the decision.
The asylum process can be complex, and it is important that it is completed correctly.