Political Asylum – 15 Things You Must Know
By: Harlan York
November 23, 2013

The United States has long offered protection to immigrants in the form of Political Asylum. This path to freedom may be given to immigrants who apply for political asylum within one year of entry into the United States, or those who face deportation in an Immigration Court hearing.

 The legal rule for Political Asylum says that an immigrant must be a refugee.

  1. Refugee is defined as a person who is not willing or not able to go back to his home country because he is afraid of being  a victim of persecution based on:
    • Race
    • Religion
    • Nationality
    • Political Opinion, or
    • Membership in a particular social group
  2. Persecution has been explained by the Board of Immigration Appeals to be:
    • a threat to life
    • a threat to freedom of, or
    • infliction of suffering or harm
  3. Persecution is NOT considered to be
    •  harassment
    • discrimination
    • mere prejudice
    • civil strife
    • general conditions of violence
    • economic  disadvantage
  4. The objective of the persecutor must be to punish.
  5. Political asylum requires a “well-founded fear” of persecution.  This fear has to be objectively and subjectively reasonable.
  6. The United States Supreme Court stated that a political asylum applicant needs simply to show the reasonable possibility that she will be persecuted.
  7. It is often said that a 10% chance of persecution is enough for a grant of political asylum.
  8. A persecutor may be:
  9. To demonstrate past persecution based on one or more of the five grounds (race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group), a political asylum applicant shows the presumption that she is afraid of future persecution.
    • the government in the political asylum applicant’s homeland
    • a person who his government does not wish to control  OR cannot control or
    • a group that his government does not wish to control  OR cannot control
  10. An asylee is an immigrant who has won political asylum.
  11. An asylee cannot be deported unless Immigration proves a change in circumstances – in the political asylum winner’s home country – that he may not face a threat to his safety on his return.
  12. An asylee can get a work permit based on a grant of political asylum. In certain cases, an applicant for political asylum qualifies for a work permit as well.
  13. An asylee is able to file for a green card one year after the political asylum grant.
  14. An immigrant who has won political asylum can file to give asylee status to his spouse and unmarried children under 21.

After five years of green card status, the political asylum winner may be able to file for United States citizenship.

About Harlan York

The first-ever attorney in New Jersey to win “Immigration Lawyer of the Year” from Best Lawyers, Harlan York is former immigration chair of the NJ State Bar Association and former co-chair for the NY State Bar Association CFLS Committee on Immigration. He currently serves on the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) National Practice Management Committee.

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Harlan York & Associates practices law in the areas of Immigration, Deportation Defense, Family Immigration, Corporate Immigration, Naturalization throughout Essex County – Hudson County – Morris County – Passaic County – Somerset County – Middlesex County – Bergen County – New Jersey -Immigration Lawyer – NJ Immigration Lawyer – Jersey City-Newark-Paterson Passaic Elizabeth Edison Woodbridge Toms River Hamilton Trenton Camden Clifton Passaic Garfield Wallington Cherry Hill East Orange Passaic Union City Bayonne Irvington Old Bridge Lakewood North Bergen Vineland Union Wayne Parsippany-Troy Hills New Brunswick Plainfield Bloomfield Perth Amboy East Brunswick West New York West Orange Hackensack Atlantic City Kearny Mount Laurel Montclair Essex Hoboken North Brunswick Belleville. In addition to serving clients in New York, Pennsylvania, the greater United States, and Internationally.

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