Can I go back home if I applied for asylum, but withdrew the case? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our offices in St. Louis, Missouri, and San Diego, California. Today’s question comes from a past client. He had filed for asylum and waited for a very long time to get to a decision. In that time, he married a US citizen and applied for a Green Card. He got his Green Card based on that marriage, and then ultimately withdrew the asylum case. He wanted to know, “Well, since I didn’t finish my asylum case, since I didn’t have an interview, and since there was never a final judgment entered by the asylum office, can I now go back to my home country? Would it be safe?” I asked him, “Did you sign the I-589?” The 589 is the asylum application. He said yes. He said, well, he was trying to sort of say that he hadn’t really done anything to affirm or promise that he would be facing persecution if he went back to his home country. That’s why I grilled him on whether or not he signed the I-589.
See, the thing is, just because your case doesn’t go forward, doesn’t mean USCIS can’t use the statements that you made in there against you. I would suspect that if USCIS could establish that somebody filed a frivolous asylum claim, even if they withdrew it, I think that could keep you from getting an immigration benefit. There are three silver bullets in immigration that will always kill off your future immigration benefits. One is lying to an immigration officer and getting caught. Two is filing a frivolous asylum application. The third is making a false claim to US citizenship.
If you make a statement in your asylum application that turns out to be not true, or if your application is deemed to be frivolous, which means it had no merit, that can cause you trouble. When this fellow applies in the future for citizenship, he could be in real trouble if they go back and look at the asylum claim and see that there was something untrue in there, or if they find out that he went back to the home country. The reason that’s important is because when you file for asylum, when he signed that I-589, you are swearing under oath, not that things are bad back in your home country, but that if you go back to your home country, you’re going to be persecuted. Persecuted because of something about yourself that you can’t change or shouldn’t have to change, and that it’s going to be something really bad. They’re going to chop your head off. They’re going to torture you. They’re going to kill you. They’re going to kidnap you and hold you for ransom. These are the kinds of things that constitute persecution.
My man had signed a form under oath to the federal government, swearing that he couldn’t go back to his home country because he would be persecuted. I don’t care that he never had an interview. I don’t care that he never got a decision. It doesn’t matter. He has sworn under oath to the US government that he would face persecution. Now, if he goes back to the home country, hangs out at the cafe, sees family, drives around the country just to visit, that’s going to be a real problem when he applies for citizenship. Hopefully, he won’t do that. Hopefully, I got through to him. Hopefully, this video makes sense.
If you have questions about asylum, or travel back home, or applying for citizenship with some dark secret in your immigration past, give us a call, (314) 961-8200. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find us on YouTube and subscribe to our YouTube channel. We also have our great Facebook group called Immigrant Home. Of course, we’re going live every Tuesday and Thursday, usually around noon, Central Time, answering all your questions for free for an hour. Finally, find us on Instagram. We’d love to connect with you there, @hackinglawpracticellc. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.