If you are facing persecution in your home country, particularly if the persecution stems from your sexual orientation, asylum may be one of the ways in which you and your family can emigrate to the United States. Asylum is an immigration status that has very specific criteria and strict qualifications to be approved. Only individuals who are suffering from certain types of persecution are able to seek asylum once they have entered the U.S., or seek refugee status from their home country.
Even those who believe they are eligible for asylum may be denied if the procedures are not followed to the letter, and extensive documentation submitted. Hiring an attorney with experience in filing asylum applications who has a record of positive results will substantially improve your chances of being granted asylum protection for you and your family.
What Is Persecution?
Persecution means the hostile or ill-treatment of an individual based on race, religion, sexual orientation, political beliefs, or membership in a particular group. When an individual is subjected to harassment, punishment, torture, wrongful imprisonment, oppression, or is otherwise caused physical and psychological harm, he or she is suffering from persecution.
We all have certain rights as human beings. You should have the right to live free from persecution. If you are being persecuted for who you are or what you believe in, you may be eligible to seek asylum and find a better life here in the United States.
Valid Grounds or Types of Persecution
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), individuals who wish to seek asylum in the United States can only apply if they have been persecuted in the past, are being persecuted now, or are in fear of persecution due to one of these five, valid grounds or types:
- Political opinion
- Membership in a particular social group
Same-sex immigrants who are being persecuted in their country due to their sexual orientation, with the home country government unwilling or unable to put an end to the persecution, may also qualify for immediate asylum based on the ground of “membership in a particular social group.” Rather than being forced to wait for a visa or get tangled up an immigration problem, same-sex immigrants may be able to legally seek safety and asylum in the United States.
What You Need to Know
Before you rush out to submit an asylum application, you are going to want to take a few factors into account. The Huffington Post highlighted some important points about what applicants should know before seeking asylum:
- Once you have arrived in the United States, you have one year to submit your asylum application.
- At this time, your immigration status does not need to be current for you to seek asylum, however, this may change when immigration laws are changed.
- You should not let your immigration status lapse or expire while you are seeking asylum, as doing so could render your asylum application null and void.
- Applicants are allowed to include their spouse and minor children (under the age of 21 and unmarried) on their asylum applications, providing they too are in the United States.
- If an applicant’s spouse and children are still abroad, he or she must wait until asylum is granted before petitioning to bring them into the U.S. This must take place within two years of asylum being granted.
- Most applicants are eligible to apply for work visas once an asylum application is approved. In some instances, requests can be made to obtain work authorization before this time.
- Any evidence or history of participation in criminal activity may put your asylee or refugee status at risk.
Legal Assistance with Your Asylum Application
Are you or a loved one currently facing persecution in your own home country due to sexual orientation, race, religion or based on other qualifying grounds? If so, Dream Law stands ready to provide you with the legal assistance you need. Our Pasadena immigration attorney has helped dozens of people, from various different countries, successfully get asylum in the United States. To find out what we can do to help you, contact us and schedule your confidential consultation.