VIDEO: What is a frivolous asylum claim and how can it hurt me at immigration?

What is a frivolous asylum claim?  Who decides if my asylum case is frivolous?  What is the legal standard for frivolousness in asylum?

This video explains everything you need to know about asylum and what makes an asylum case frivolous.

TRANSCRIPT: 

What is a frivolous asylum application and what effect does that have on my ability to gain immigration benefits in the future? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration attorney here in St. Louis, Missouri. Someone seeking asylum in the United States has a very high evidentiary burden. You have to submit a lot of evidence in support of your claim for asylum and show that you’re going to face persecution if you return to your home country. It’s a high burden, and with asylum you start at the asylum office. At first, you have a non-adversarial hearing with an asylum officer who looks over the facts of your case and if it’s approved, then you’re granted asylum, but if it’s denied you’re not automatically deported. You get put into deportation proceedings and you have the chance to go in front of an immigration judge and make your claim for asylum once more.

Now we were talking about frivolous applications for asylum, we’re not talking about run-of-the-mill denials, situations where someone’s asylum case is denied. In fact, we’re not even talking about situations where you get a fact wrong or you mis-remember a particular detail related to your asylum claim. When the immigration service talks about frivolous asylum applications, what they’re really talking about are fraudulent asylum cases, situations where the individual has simply made things up to support their claim for asylum. They’ve falsified documents. They’ve made false allegations. They’ve obtained perjured testimony. These kinds of things are what we’re talking about when you are talking about frivolous or fraudulent asylum applications and it’s a very big deal.

When you file for asylum, and you’ve made those claims, you’ve got to prove them, but if they conclude that you have engaged in fraud, and if the immigration service has made it clear to you that you can get in trouble for filing a fraudulent asylum claim, then the steps are there for you to not be able to get any immigration benefit for the rest of your life. It’s a very harsh sanction and it’s a very serious situation. If you were to file a fraudulent asylum application and it was denied, and let’s say you subsequently married a US citizen, you would not be able to adjust status. You would not be able to gain any immigration benefit, because of the finding that you had filed this frivolous or fraudulent asylum application.

The way it works is during the during the immigration judge portion of the asylum case, if the judge concludes or starts to believe that you have engaged in fraud, and if the Department of Homeland Security can prove that you engaged in fraud, and if the immigration judge gives you an opportunity to rebut the claims of fraud, that factual finding that you have engaged in filing a fraudulent asylum application can result in that bar from you ever obtaining any kind of immigration benefit in the future. No matter what immigration benefit it is, the statute’s very broadly written. It’s a very harsh sanction and you really have to be careful when you’re filing for asylum that you don’t ever bump up against it.

If you have any questions about asylum, or if you’re worried that your asylum claim may have been not entirely accurate, you need to talk to an immigration attorney as soon as you can, so please pick up the phone. Give us a call. 314-961-8200 or you can shoot me an email, jim@hackinglawpractice.com. Thanks.