Can I go back home after I receive asylum in the United States? Hi. I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. Now here is a video I thought that I would never have to make. I was honestly flabbergasted, which is a great old word, flabbergasted. It means shocked. When I was doing a consult last week, I spoke with a young man from Iraq. He had received asylum in the United States.
Now just so everybody knows. The United States is denying lots of asylum cases to Iraq right now. But this young man had obtained asylum in the United States about two years ago, and he had obtained it for himself and for his wife and I think for one or two kids. And he then applied for his green card. The law says that after you get asylum that you can apply for a green card one year after that. Well, huh, his case took two or three years. Yeah, so it must’ve been four years ago that he got asylum because this case took two and a half years and it was still pending. The USCIS was not giving him his green card and so he actually ended up suing USCIS for a decision on his green card case. And I understand. Obviously, we file lawsuits like that all the time. He didn’t hire us to do that. He hired an attorney in Michigan. That’s where his immigration office is.
He went into his interview and USCIS asked him, they said, “Well, we gave you asylum, and the rule says that you have to have a year of presence in the United States when you apply for your green card.” What happened was in that first year after he received asylum, he spent seven months back in Iraq. I couldn’t believe it. Obviously, when you file for asylum, you’re making a promise that it’s unsafe for you to go back home to your home country and that you will be tortured or persecuted because of some characteristic about yourself that you can’t change or shouldn’t have to change.
Now this guy went through all the hassle of asylum. He must’ve had a good argument and a good reason for getting asylum because, like I said, so many cases are getting denied, and then he went ahead and spent more than half of the next year back in Iraq. Now he said, “Well, I’m from central Iraq and I was up near Turkey in the Kurdish part of Iraq.” I said, “Well, were you in Iraq?” “Well, yeah.” Then he said, “Well, but you know, I couldn’t get a full-time permit there, but I was there.” He said he could only get a full-time permit for three months, but he was there for six months.
In any event, he went back inside the borders of Iraq, and it might’ve been under Kurdish rule and he might not have been a Kurd, but when you apply for asylum, one of the things that comes up is whether or not you can live in another part of the country safely, and so this guy was really foolish in going back.
His green card case got denied and he’s thinking about reapplying. The interesting thing is that I believe that they might come after his original asylum grant. They might say that he lied. They might say, “Hey, you told us and swore under oath that you couldn’t go back to Iraq under any circumstances, and here you’ve gone back.”
Now USCIS under President Trump has a denaturalization squad. They have a unit that’s looking for people to denaturalize and, obviously, he’s not at the naturalization stage. But if they are working hard to take away citizenship from people who already have it, which is actually a very hard process, you have to actually go to federal court, here it’d be much easier. If I were them, just issue a notice of intent to revoke the asylum grant, to try to take away his asylum, maybe put him in removal proceedings to get that part started. I think he’s in real trouble. So, this was a very, very foolish thing.
I tell you this story not to make fun of him or to chastise him or to publicly ridicule him, but to educate you that if you get asylum, you don’t go back to your home country. You’re promising that you can’t ever go back. Now I suppose in theory people do go back after they get their citizenship, but these days I wouldn’t recommend even that because of that denaturalization squad.
It’s a whole new world, people. Actually, this was true back in the old days under a prior president. When you apply for asylum, you’re swearing that you can’t go back to your home country, so don’t do it. It’s stupid and it’s going to screw up your life in America. Again, I don’t mean to be overly harsh, but this was not a good idea. Of course, he kept fighting me with it when I was talking to him during the consult, which left me scratching my head. Hopefully, you won’t make those mistakes because you watch these videos and you’re a smart immigration consumer. Hope you found it helpful, though.
If you have questions about asylum or about filing a lawsuit to get your green card or anything like that, give us a call, 314-961-8200. You can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group. That group is called Immigrant Home, and we post lots of good immigration news in there. We’d love to have you. If you have any questions or any videos you want us to shoot, leave us a comment below and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you get updates whenever we make videos just like this one.
All right. Thanks, everybody. Have a great day and we’ll talk to you next time.