What is asylum?
Asylum (commonly referred to as “political asylum”) is a legal protection for people who are in the United States and afraid to return to their country of origin. Asylum is a protection from removal for people who have been persecuted or fear persecution in their country because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Asylum applicants must apply within one year of entering the U.S., although there are some exceptions to this rule. People who are placed into removal proceedings after having been in the U.S. for more than one year can still apply for asylum but may be granted a lesser form of relief called “Withholding of Removal.”
What are the benefits of asylum?
Applicants can include their spouse and minor children on the application, or can apply later to bring these family members to the U.S. if their asylum application is granted. People who win asylum can live and work in the Unites States with authorization. After 1 year with asylum status, the asylum grantee can apply for permanent residency (a “green card”), and can apply to become a U.S. citizen once they have five total years as a permanent resident.
Do I need a lawyer to apply for asylum?
Anyone can apply for asylum without the help of a lawyer. However, winning asylum can be very difficult. One study found that 51.5% of people with a lawyer won their asylum case, but only 11% of people without a lawyer won asylum. An experienced asylum lawyer can find the best way to present a case to the Asylum Officer or the Immigration Judge by emphasizing important details and overcoming any negative factors.
Martinez Immigration Law has experienced asylum attorneys with a proven track record of winning cases. Call us today at (816) 491-8105 to schedule a consultation.