Asylum

Working with the rare knowledge and insight of a former immigration judge, Peter has the experience to help you with your application for asylum or appeal.  He has a track record of success in helping individuals obtain asylum through an “affirmative” application to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), through a “defensive” application to an Immigration Judge, or through an appeal to federal court of a previously denied application.  In order to win asylum in the United States, an immigrant must prove he or she is being persecuted because of race, religion, political view, nationality or membership in a particular social group.  An applicant also needs to show that his government is either part of the persecution or unable or unwilling to protect him.

If you wish to apply for asylum, it is very important to work with a qualified lawyer who can articulate your case along with all the supporting evidence possible for your application.

Overview of Asylum

Asylum is defined as a discretionary benefit accorded to certain persons in the United States who demonstrate that they are unable or unwilling to return to their country on account of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. One year after the receipt of asylum status, asylees may apply for lawful permanent residence.

Since 2003, the U.S. has granted an average of 11,890 applications for asylum. During that same time, a combined total of 5,927 people from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala who submitted an application were approved, according to data published by the Department of Homeland Security.

You may only submit an application for asylum if you are arriving in or already physically present in the United States. To submit an application, you may ask at a port-of-entry (airport, seaport, or border crossing), or, if you are already in the United States, you may file an application with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), with the appropriate evidence and at the appropriate Service Center.  You may apply regardless of your immigration status, whether you are here legally or illegally.  A qualified asylum lawyer is critical to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case and to put together a strong application.

You must submit an application within one year of your last arrival in the United States, unless you can demonstrate that there are changed circumstances that materially affect your eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances directly related to your failure to file within one year. Changed or extraordinary circumstances may include certain changes in the conditions in your country, changes in your own circumstances, and other events.

It is important to work with a qualified asylum lawyer because you will be barred from submitting an application again if you were denied by the Immigration Judge or Board of Immigration Appeals, unless you demonstrate that there are changed circumstances which materially affect your eligibility for asylum. You will also be barred from submitting an application for asylum if you could be removed to a safe third-country pursuant to a bilateral or multilateral agreement. Currently, the U.S. has a Safe Third Country agreement with only one country, Canada, and the agreement does not apply to individuals submitting an application for asylum affirmatively. However, you can appeal a denial of asylum.  The laws change frequently and this information is not indefinitely up-to-date which is why working with a qualified asylum lawyer is crucial.

There is no government filing fee to apply for asylum.