REFUGEE & ASYLUM LAWYERS
Asylum provides safe haven in the US to an individual seeking protection from persecution in their home country. The applicant must be unwilling or unable to return to his/her home country because of past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution on account of at least one of these factors:
- Membership in a particular group
- Political opinion
Establishing Proof of Persecution
The applicant must submit extensive documentation to establish that persecution resulted directly from one of these grounds and not from private disputes.
Membership in a Particular Group
Membership in a particular social group must be based upon an immutable characteristic such as sex, race, or sexual orientation.
To establish this ground, you must submit documentation that the group has a discernible identity, you are a member of that group, and the group is persecuted as a result of its distinguishing characteristics.
Persecution on the basis of political opinion can be established where the applicant demonstrates an actively and openly-held opinion in opposition to those in a position of authority, or where the person has been persecuted by virtue of an “imputed opinion.”
Persecution is not limited to physical abuse or torture. Denial of education and employment opportunities, arbitrary inferences with the individual’s family members, and restrictions on an individual’s rights amounting to a “threat to life or liberty,” defines persecution. On the other hand, general conditions of hardship and criminal prosecution for violating a state’s laws do not constitute persecution under the immigration laws.
Evidence of past persecution is grounds for an asylum claim unless a change of circumstances indicates that no fear of future persecution is warranted. A simple assertion of past persecution is insufficient, and the applicant will be required to provide extensive documentation including any injuries, threats of violence, and restrictions.
You must base an asylum claim on a “well-founded fear of future persecution.” In addition to the grounds listed above, the “well-founded fear” requires proof that a reasonable likelihood exists that the persecution will occur at the hands of the applicant’s government or a group that the government is unwilling or unable to stop from persecuting.
You have to submit evidence showing you will likely be persecuted, and that the persecutor is capable of the punishment. This confirms your fears of persecution not only in the area of the country you are fleeing from, but that you will be found and persecuted in any part of that country.
Certain individuals are automatically precluded from seeking asylum even if they meet the requirements above. These include individuals who have:
- Participated in the persecution of othersBeen convicted of a serious crime or a serious nonpolitical crime outside the US
- Been terrorists or endanger security in the US
- Been offered permanent resident status or citizenship in another country
- Failed to file the application within one year of entering the US (certain exceptions may apply)
What should my next steps be?
It is strongly recommended to have your asylum claim evaluated by an attorney experienced with asylum claims.
Contact Antonini & Cohen today at 404-850-9394 for a consultation.
“Because of Carolina Antonini, my problem is solved. I live free. My stress is gone. Even my husband was in a deportation case and because of her, he got his green card too.”
-Senayit Bekele, Family Immigration
Many asylum applications are denied because the applicant is unaware they must file within one year of entry into the U.S. Asylum seekers, who are detained at the border and then placed in removal proceedings, generally do not receive notice of this deadline until the first hearing. Due to significant backlogs at the immigration court, however, few are scheduled to appear in court within one year of their entry.
Marshall Cohen, chairman of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Georgia-Alabama chapter, and Founding Partner of Antonini & Cohen Immigration Law group, was recently interviewed for the Daily Report article, “Immigration Lawyer: Attorney General’s Rejection of Governor’s Syrian Plan Isn’t Surprising, but It’s Significant” by Meredith Hobbs.
The Paris attacks by ISIS were horrendous crimes against humanity. In their wake, we understandably want to prevent anything remotely similar from happening here. Governor Deal’s “refusal” to accept Syrian refugees in Georgia, however, is practically and legally an empty gesture that does nothing to that end. It fails to make us safer and only weakens us by promoting misinformation and fueling senseless fear.