Asylum Immigration Lawyer for Danbury & Stamford, CT
Asylum is the legal protection afforded by the United States government to a person who can demonstrate a “well-founded fear of persecution” based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Asylum applicants seek protection from deportation after having entered the United States, legally or illegally. Those who can demonstrate a credible fear of returning to their home country due to past persecution based on any of the five protected grounds may receive status in the United States. However, status is never guaranteed. Contact our office to see whether or not you may qualify for this remedy.
Two Methods of Gaining Asylum
Individuals generally have two methods of gaining asylum as affirmative and defensive. Affirmative asylum seekers present their cases in an office-like setting to immigration officers at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Those who file defensive asylums must prove their case to an immigration judge in Immigration Court.
If the USCIS officer denies the affirmative applicant asylum, an individual’s case will then be transferred to the immigration judge and then given another opportunity to prove his or her case before an immigration judge. Individuals referred to the Immigration Court are entitled to a new hearing in which the immigration judge is not bound by the prior USCIS decision. A granting of an asylum claim always depends upon the individual’s ability to show that he or she has a reasonable fear of returning to the country of origin. This fear must be “credible” and “well-founded,” as a result of past incidents of harm in the country of origin or fear of future persecution. The applicant’s experience of past persecution must also have been based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular group.
Filing Times for Asylum
Individuals have one year from their time of arrival in the United States to file for asylum. Failure to file within one year may prevent a person from seeking this form of relief. This is known as the “one-year bar.” Exceptions to the one-year bar include changed country conditions and extraordinary circumstances beyond the applicant’s control. If the applicant’s home country was safe when he or she left, but recently became embroiled in turmoil or civil wars, these could constitute “changed country conditions” making it too dangerous to return home. An example of this is the recent turmoil in Syria. Similarly, “extraordinary circumstances” such as a mental illness or occurrence, serious illness, or ineffective assistance of counsel could have prevented an individual from filing within one year of arriving.
It is important you seek advice from attorney Rashmi N. Patel; she will guide you through the process and ensure your application is vigorously completed and you are properly represented.