Asylum

What You Need to Know about Asylum in Missouri

For some people in the United States, a return to their home country would be dangerous or life-threatening. Immigration allows certain people in this situation to remain in the United States under a process known as asylum. Asylum is a form of discretionary relief provided by the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) under strict conditions. The fact that the relief is discretionary means that DHS can choose to grant asylum and allow the person to remain in the U.S. or to deny asylum and order the person removable or deportable.

Asylum has two forms, often referred to as “offensive” asylum – which involves an applicant seeking affirmative asylum as a means to stay in the United States – or “defensive” asylum – where the applicant seeks to keep DHS from deporting him or her because of possible persecution in their home country.

The individual applying for asylum bears the burden of proving certain things. The applicant must show that they have suffered persecution in the past or have a well-founded fear that they will suffer persecution if they return home. It is important to understand too that not all persecution is protected.

Under current asylum law, the persecution must be based on one of five specific reasons:

  1. The person’s race.
  2. The person’s religion.
  3. The person’s nationality.
  4. The person’s membership in a particular social group.
  5. The person’s political opinion.

So is that all that it takes? Is all that you have to do is identify yourself as having one of these characteristics and then you get to stay in the U.S.? With recent unrest in the Middle East, Pakistan and certain African countries, we receive frequent calls about possible asylum. No, unfortunately it is not that easy.

A person requesting asylum has to show that the potential persecution has a “reasonable possibility” of occurring.You must show that a reasonable person in your shoes would have a legitimate fear of persecution. The Supreme Court has suggested that an asylum applicant must show at least a 1-in-10 chance that persecution will occur. You also have to show that it is one or more of the five recognized reasons – and not some other reason – that you face persecution in your home country.

A well-prepared asylum application should also include certain information about the possible persecution and persecutor. For instance:

  1. That the person seeking asylum has a belief or characteristic that a persecutor would want to thwart or punish.
  2. That the persecutor is aware, or could become aware, that the asylum applicant has that belief or characteristic.
  3. That the persecutor has the ability of harming or punishing the asylum applicant, and,
  4. That the persecutor has the inclination to punish the applicant.

Immigration and asylum attorney Jim Hacking has the experience and knowledge to help you with your asylum case. While certain areas of immigration law may not call for the involvement of an attorney, asylum cases are document-intensive and require gathering a lot of factual evidence. A bare bones asylum application with little proof will most likely be denied. Let the Hacking Law Practice, LLC, help you file the best asylum application possible so as to increase your chances of getting it approved. Call us at 314-961-8200 or email our office today to learn how we can help you with this important process.

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