Political Asylum Overview

Political asylum is available to persons who have a well-founded fear of persecution upon return to their native country based on reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.  The measure for determining a well-founded fear of persecution is whether or not a reasonable person in the applicant's position or circumstances would fear persecution. 

 The asylum applicant must show only that there is a reasonable possibility that persecution will occur upon return.  There is no particular percentage of possibility that must be established and general background of an individual may be used to establish the persecution claim.  It is up to the applicant to convince the Immigration Service (USCIS) asylum officer that the possibility exists under the well-founded fear standard.  Another way an person may establish a claim for political asylum is by showing past persecution.

Past persecution may be established by records of arrest, affidavits of witnesses, and personal accounts.  Once past persecution is established, it is presumed that the applicant has a reason to fear future persecution.  It is then up to the ins immigration officials to show that little likelihood of future persecution exists and that no significant humanitarian factors were present.  Generally, the more severe the level of past persecution, the stronger the support against a questionable well-founded fear of persecution.  In cases where the past persecution is particularly horrible, the asylum seeking person may be granted asylum even where there is no well-founded fear of persecution. 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enfocement (ICE) pre-screens all asylum applications to determine their validity.  Only those that have merit on their face go forward into the interview process.  Upon establishing a “credible fear of persecution”, the USCIS may authorize the issuance of a work permit.  Otherwise, the applicant seeking the asylum may have to wait 180 days after filing to apply for work authorization.

This area can be very complicated and emotionally charged.  It's important to obtain qualified counsel as early as possible in the process.  I am confident I can help you.  Contact Attorney Evan D. Frankel at 1-800-394-3826.  Know your rights.

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