Articles Posted in Asylum

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statue_of_liberty-237x300Venezuela is now the top U.S. Asylum Seeking nation since the crash of the Venezuela economy and the government’s widespread persecution and harassment of opponents of Nicolas Maduro.  Venezuela is in crisis, with its people enduring hyperinflation, scarcity of food and medicine, high crime and political corruption.  Thousands of its citizens are fleeing to neighboring countries such as Colombia, Brazil, and also Spain and the United States.  Since March 2017, 30 protestors of Maduro administration have been killed.  Thousands of people have been arrested for political reasons since 2016.  Over 14,700 Venezuelans sought asylum in the U.S. in FY2016.  And halfway through FY2017, Venezuelan asylum applications are on pace to double again.

It should be noted that fleeing ones country due to hunger, the economy, or joblessness does not qualify you for asylum in the U.S.  To qualify for asylum in the United States, you must meet the definition of a refugee, which means you are unable or unwilling to return to your own country because of persecution or  well founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.   An asylum seeker will need to provide credible testimony, and genuine documentation to prove past persecution or well founded fear of persecution.  Know that the the consequences for filing a frivolous claim of asylum, or counterfeit or false documentation to support an asylum application are grave.  If USCIS or an immigration finds that a  person knowingly filed a frivolous or fabricated asylum claim,  that person will be forever barred from gaining a lawful immigration benefit or status in the United States.

We recommend you see a qualified immigration attorney for a consultation before you proceed with an asylum application, to help you evaluate whether your claim has merit.  Then you can decide whether you wand to proceed on your own, or retain an attorney to help you through the process.

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Backlog Chart

Data from TRAC Immigration

The Immigration Court system in the United States is notorious for its backlog of cases. This story gets attention every not and again from the national press. A little under a year ago, in order to help the chronic backlog facing the Immigration Courts, Congress provided funding for 55 new immigration judges. To put this is perspective, an immigrant rights group estimates that over 200 new immigration judges would be necessary to even make a dent in the chronic backlog of cases before the court. Fortunately, it appears there are plans to boost the number of immigration judges even more, but still short of the number necessary to reduce the persistent backlog of cases.

But despite these new judges, the backlog persists. According to the Hill, over 500,000 cases currently sit waiting to be heard by an immigration judge across the United States, the largest backlog in our nation’s history. In Illinois alone, there are over 20,000 cases waiting to be heard by an immigration judge. The average number of days cases have been pending in the United States is 672 days. Human Rights First also notes that the average number of days between when an immigrant files a case before the court and that case is actually heard is over 1,000 and just under 3 years. While these cases sit, the lives of the immigrants impacted by the case remain in immigration limbo.

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christianity.jpgChristians have lived in the Middle East for thousands of years. Tensions have always flared from time to time between Christians and other religions in the region; however, since the rise of the Islamic State, Christians in the Middle East have faced increased persecution and have been forced to flee their homes. “Some of the oldest Christian communities in the world are disappearing in the very lands where their faith was born and first took root,” says a Center for American Progress.

The Pew Research Center estimates that only 1% of the Middle East’s total population is Christian, despite the fact that the religion began in the region. The numbers get worse as you examine countries that ISIS has thrived in. According to a report highlighted on 60 Minutes, of the nearly 300,000 Christians remaining in Iraq in 2014, nearly 125,000 have been forced to leave Iraq due to increased attacks from ISIS. The numbers are equally as bad for Christians in Syria, another stronghold of ISIS. Newsweek reports that nearly 700,000 Syrian Christians have been forced from their homes since the rise of ISIS in the region.

With thousands of Christians fleeing the Middle East in search of safer lives, the increase in asylum seekers has but a strain on immigration systems around the world. The BBC reports that some 153,000 migrants have crossed into Europe this year, a 149% increase from 2014. The European Union is currently engulfed in a debate on what to do with the thousands of migrants being displaced due to the conflicts in the Middle East and the North Africa. And the situation isn’t much better in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security is currently suffering from its largest backlog of affirmative asylum cases. At the end of fiscal year 2011, the Department had 9,274 affirmative asylum cases pending. The number grew to 73,103 by the end of December 2014, a 700% increase.

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for USCISLogoEnglish.jpgAs we’ve pointed out in previous blog posts, the Asylum process is a long and complicated one. In order for your asylum application to be successful, you will need a lot of evidence. This blog will focus on the kinds of evidence you will need for your asylum application.

First, it is important to remember that in order to qualify for asylum you must have been persecuted or fear persecution because of one of these five categories:

  • Race
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statue of liberty.jpgThe Affirmative Asylum process is a complicated, multistep process. Below are the various steps you must complete to have a successful asylum application, according to USCIS.

1) Arrive in the United States: In order to claim asylum in the US, you must be physically present in the United States. You cannot claim asylum in the US if you are not present here at the time.

2) Apply for Asylum: To apply for asylum you must complete form I-589, Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal within one year of arriving in the US. There is no fee to fill out and file this form.

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Asylum.jpgThe Asylum process in the United States is a very thorough and in depth process. If you are interested in the asylum process or want to find out if the asylum process is right for you, please contact a skilled immigration attorney. This blog will outline some basic information about the asylum process, who is eligible for asylum, and what is required to be successful in your asylum application.

In order to claim asylum, you must be physically present in the United States. You must also apply for asylum within one year of your last entry date into the US. Asylum can also be used as a defense while you are in removal proceedings. In order to claim asylum, you must have suffered or fear persecution for one of the following reasons:

  • Race