Do I Qualify for Political Asylum?
June 8, 2018 – David Hahn
Are you or a loved one in fear of being persecuted in your home country? Have you clearly demonstrated that you don’t agree with your country’s political policies or methods? If so, you could be protected by moving to the United States.
The United States government offers political asylum to people fleeing from their country because the political conditions are unsafe. Continue reading to see if you or a loved one qualify for political asylum.
What Is Political Asylum?
Political asylum is when a person flees from their country for political reasons and is given the right to live in a foreign country indefinitely.
To apply for political asylum, you must be at the U.S. border or inside of the country. You may have entered the U.S. illegally or by visa. If you are currently outside of the United States, then you need to apply for refugee status. In this article, we will focus on asylum status, particularly for political opinions.
What Are the Requirements for Political Asylum?
To apply for asylum, you’ll need to meet the following requirements. In addition to currently being inside the U.S. or at the border, you’ll need to have proof that you have either been persecuted for your political opinions or that you are afraid that you will be persecuted if you return to your country. Let’s take a closer look at what this means.
You have already been persecuted for your political opinions in your country or you’re afraid you will be persecuted if you return.
Perhaps you hold opinions or ideas that conflict with the government’s policies and methods. If the authorities don’t tolerate your opinions and have persecuted you because of them, you may qualify for political asylum. You may also qualify if you have been persecuted because the government in your country wrongly assumes you hold certain political opinions due to your religion or family group.
There isn’t a list of every type of persecution that will qualify you. But, there have been cases where individuals received political asylum who experienced things such as:
- Denial of basic human rights
- Outright violence against them
- Wrongful imprisonment
Even if the government hasn’t persecuted you, you may still qualify for political asylum. There are cases where the government grants asylum to those who believe they will be persecuted if they return to their country.
You have proof that the government in your country knows about your political views.
To be considered for political asylum, you need to present proof that you have a case. The U.S. government will need to see proof that the authorities in your country know of your political views. It will be helpful for your case if you have done one or more of the following:
- Participated in anti-government protests
- Attended political demonstrations
- Joined a political party that conflicts with the government
- Written about your political views
It’s best if you have multiple pieces of evidence to prove your participation in the above activities. You may use your own testimony, that of other witnesses, and newspaper articles or reports that mention you and your political opinions.
What Prevents Me From Getting Political Asylum?
While there are things that may help your case, there are some things that are likely to disqualify you. These disqualifiers include:
- You have participated in the persecution of others by initiating it, ordering it, or assisting with it. If you have helped oppress someone because of their political opinion, social group, race, religion, or nationality, you will not qualify for asylum.
- You are a threat to the safety and/or security of the United States. If you have been convicted of a serious crime outside of the country, this could be grounds to deny you asylum. Speak with your lawyer about your circumstances to see if the crime you committed will prevent you from qualifying for political asylum.
- You have already resettled in another country. If you initially fled to another country seeking protection you may not qualify for political asylum. The United States government would consider you resettled if:
- the country you fled to has granted you permanent residency or citizenship,
- you have permanent living conditions and have traveled in and out of that country, or
- you have economic independence due to your education, job, or other affairs in the adopted country.
How Do I Apply for Political Asylum?
If you think you qualify for political asylum, you need to submit a USCIS Form I-589 within one year of entering the United States. You need to include documents that show the general conditions of the country that you’re trying to get asylum from. You also need to provide proof of your situation and facts that support your claim.
If you’re looking for political asylum, make sure to speak with an experienced immigration lawyer right away to help you with the complicated process. The attorneys at Robichaud, Schroepfer & Correia, P.A. are strong advocates for individuals who have been harmed or face the threat of harm in their home country. Our attorneys are ready to help you or your loved one find safety. Fill out the form below or call our office to speak with one of our experienced lawyers today.
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