Asylum and Refugee Status
Refugee status allows certain persons, residing outside the United States,
to lawfully enter the United States for the purpose of escaping persecution in
their home countries.
Asylum is an immigration status that is granted to certain persons who
have already entered the U.S., and can show that they have the same
well-founded fear of persecution as a "refugee" would have. Asylum applications
must be filed within the first year after entering the U.S.
For either asylum or refugee status, the person must have a well founded
fear of persecution on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion,
or membership in a particular social group. The fear must be subjectively
genuine and objectively reasonable, and the persecution must be threatened
by either the home-country's government, or by persons that the
home-country's government is unable or unwilling to control.
A person granted either refugee status or asylum has the option of becoming
a Lawful Permanent Resident of the United States (after one year following
admission), and has the option of petitioning for certain family members
(within the first two years following admission).
Withholding of Removal
Withholding of removal is granted to certain foreign nationals, present in
the United States, who can establish that they are more likely than not to
suffer persecution in their home countries. This status has no one-year
filing deadline, and is available even to some persons with serious criminal
records. This status does not automatically lead to eligibility for
Lawful Permanent Resident Status, and does not create any eligibility to
petition for family members.
Temporary Protected Status
Nationals of certain countries are eligible for lawful immigration
status in the United States, on a temporary basis, based upon being a
national of a designated country, being present in the U.S. on the
designation date, and not being subject to certain inadmissibility grounds.
Unlike refugee status, asylum or withholding, there does not have to be an
individualized showing of fear of persecution. This status does not automatically
lead to eligibility for Lawful Permanent Resident Status, and does not create
any eligibility to petition for family members.
Other Statuses for Refugees
Other immigration options exist for persons fleeing persecution, poor conditions,
or lack of opportunities in their home countries. These options include
NACARA, HRIFA, VAWA, certain family-based statuses, and certain
employment-based statuses. A professional evaluation of the facts of your case
may reveal opportunities that were not previously considered.