What is the dirty little secret that nobody tells you about asylum law in the United States? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration attorney practicing law here in Saint Louis, Missouri.
Our office turns down more asylum cases than we take, and the reason we turn them down is because a lot of people, although they come from countries that have hardship and suffering, the individuals would come to see us can’t show to that harm or bad conditions would apply uniquely to them, that is they have to show that if they are to return home, that they face persecution themselves, that is something more than things are generally bad in the country.
A lot of people who come to see us and they’ll try to explain to us why things are bad, and what’s wrong with their country, but the one dirty little secret that no one ever talks about in asylum is that if what you’re asking the asylum officer to conclude does not jive or match up with what US foreign policy is, your asylum case isn’t going to get very far.
Now, how does this work in the real world? I’ll give you an example. We were once contacted by a Palestinian fellow, and he was thinking about applying for asylum.
In order to be granted asylum, he would have to demonstrate that Israeli defense forces (an ally of United States) were oppressing Palestinians and him in particular. While he did have a story or two about problems that he’d had with Israeli defense forces, he didn’t have anything particularized or to show that it was unique to him, but more importantly, it was very unlikely that he would be able to convince American asylum officers would conclude that Israel was oppressing Palestinians. They would have to take a political stance that is directly contrary to US foreign policy.
We told that person that the likelihood of him getting asylum based on these facts were very slim. Now, at the same time, we’ll give you an example of another one where foreign policy and the asylum application do track each other. We were contacted by a lady from Afghanistan who had been a doctor and started a women’s clinic and had been threatened by the Taliban with death for her political activity.
This was a very strong asylum case, and the main reason is a strong asylum case was because it’s very easy for an asylum officer to conclude that the Taliban threats were real, and that the threats to her coincided with US foreign policy, so we weren’t asking them to conclude that an ally was doing something wrong, or unethical, or oppressive.
You really need to keep this in mind when considering asylum, it’s something that a lot of people don’t talk about, but after having seen a lot of asylum cases and seeing those that succeed and those that don’t, it’s really imperative that you make sure that your application coincides with US foreign policy.
If you have any questions about this, feel free to give us a call, 314-916-8200, or you can e-mail me, [email protected]. Thanks.