I am scared to go back to my country. Should I file for asylum?
- By Nisha Karnani
- May 19, 2014
- Refugees & Asylum
Is filing for asylum in the US right for you?
You will need to determine whether US asylum laws will protect you from the types of harm you fear and the reasons you could be harmed. Asylum protects those who are unwilling or unable to return to their home country because they have been persecuted (or fear they will be persecuted) due to their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
Persecution is a difficult term to define. A threat to life or freedom is usually considered persecution but discrimination and harassment are usually not. Examples of persecution include confinement, torture, rape, sexual assault, forced abortion, female genital mutilation, beatings, kidnapping, inability to earn an income, and being forbidden to practice your religion.
The reason for persecution must be on account of one of the protected grounds mentioned earlier. You will not qualify for asylum if you fear to return to your home country because of generalized crime and violence. You might qualify, though, if a central reason you are harmed is because of something distinctive about you, like your ethnicity, social group, politics, religion, sexuality, or gender.
Think about the consequences you face if your asylum case is denied
Even if you are eligible for protection under US asylum law, you must determine whether it is actually a good idea to file in your particular situation. It’s possible for an asylum claim to be denied despite a very real fear of returning home that meets the basic eligibility requirements.
For instance, an asylum officer or immigration judge could deny asylum if they believe you can obtain protection from your government, or they think you can safely relocate within your country or to another country. Moreover, an asylum officer or immigration judge might not believe what you are saying. Unfortunately, the number of fraudulent applications filed can also cast doubt on legitimate applications.
If the asylum officer does not approve your application, you could be placed in deportation proceedings where the immigration judge will review your case. Also, an asylum denial in the US may prevent you from requesting asylum in Canada due to a safe-third party agreement between the US and Canada.
Get the best kind of help and remember the one-year filing deadline
You should consult with an honest and experienced immigration attorney who specializes in US asylum law to help you assess: whether you meet the legal requirements; whether you have alternative immigration options; whether you have a strong asylum claim; how to prove your asylum case; and how to prepare for the application and interview process.
Asylum applications must be filed within one year of entry into the US. Although, the immigration law allows for some limited exceptions and alternative protections if this deadline has lapsed.
Contact the professionals at Antonini & Cohen Immigration Law Group to help you get asylum in the US
At Antonini & Cohen, we have helped many asylum applicants seek safe haven in the US. If you fear harm in your home country, contact us to review your situation and allow us to help you decide whether you should file an asylum application. To schedule a consultation today, please call 404.850.9394 or click here to complete a contact form.