“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” This quote comes from Emma Lazarus’ sonnet, New Colossus, also known as the Statute of Liberty poem, and has served as a foundation for the thousands of immigrants who have left their homes, bound for the United States in search of freedom.
In the U.S., if an immigrant can prove persecution or fear of persecution for religious beliefs, political opinions, race, nationality, ethnicity or membership in certain social groups (such as LGBT groups), or fear of torture, he or she may apply for asylum and/or withholding of removal. If the application is approved, he or she will be allowed to remain in the United States. The United States Asylum Program protects eligible immigrants who are either already in the United States, or at a port of entry regardless of his or her country of origin. Ports-of- entry are the following: airports, sea ports and border crossings. Unlike visas, there are no quota restrictions as to the amount of applications approved under this program.
How do you apply for asylum?
There are two ways to apply for asylum. The first is at a port-of-entry (airport, seaport or border crossing). The second is to file your Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal at an authorized Serviced Center. Please note this application must be within one year of arrival, regardless of whether you entered the United States legally or illegally. If it has been more than one year since your last arrival into the United States, you may be eligible to apply if you can prove changed or extraordinary circumstances.
If you or a loved one receives a Notice to Appear and faces removal/deportation, you may file for asylum as a way to avoid deportation. This is called defensive asylum. In defensive asylum cases, you must prove that deportation will result in persecution due to any of the above-recognized forms of persecution.
The Official website of the United States Department of Homeland Security recently released the following:
Affirmative Asylum Interview Scheduling
Starting January 29, 2018, the Asylum Division will give priority to the most recently filed affirmative asylum applications when scheduling asylum interviews.
USCIS’ predecessor, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, first established this interview scheduling approach as part of asylum reforms implemented in January 1995. This approach was in place until December 2014. The aim is to deter individuals from using asylum backlogs solely to obtain employment authorization by filing frivolous, fraudulent or otherwise non-meritorious asylum applications.
Giving priority to recent filings allows USCIS to promptly place such individuals into removal proceedings, which reduces the incentive to file for asylum solely to obtain employment authorization. This approach also allows USCIS to decide qualified applications in a more efficient manner.
USCIS will now schedule asylum interviews in the following order of priority:
- First priority: Applications that were scheduled for an interview, but the interview had to be rescheduled at the applicant’s request or the needs of USCIS.
- Second priority: Applications that have been pending 21 days or less.
- Third priority: All other pending affirmative asylum applications will be scheduled for interviews starting with newer filings and working back towards older filings.
Workload priorities related to border enforcement may affect our ability to schedule all new applications for an interview within 21 days.
Asylum office directors may consider, on a case-by-case basis, an urgent request to be scheduled for an interview outside of the priority order listed above.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: Response to January 2018 Preliminary Injunction
Jan. 13, 2018, Update: Due to a federal court order, USCIS has resumed accepting requests to renew a grant of deferred action under DACA. Until further notice, and unless otherwise provided in this guidance, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017.
Individuals who were previously granted deferred action under DACA may request renewal.
If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired on or after Sept. 5, 2016, you may still file your DACA request as a renewal request.
Additional information will be forthcoming.
Asylum cases are often delicate and always unique to everyone. For this reason, it is crucial that you hire an attorney who is experienced in the intricacies of asylum. At Luis Mariano Garcia, P.A., our asylum lawyer Miami and staff understand the high stakes involved in asylum cases. If you or a loved one wishes to seek refuge in the U.S. through asylum, please contact us to schedule a consultation.