Every year, thousands of individuals flee persecution in their home country for a new life in the United States. Of these people, only a portion can obtain asylum status in the United States, allowing them to live, work, and prosper in their new home. After facing violence, oppression, and ill-treatment in your home country, navigating the long and difficult application process can be overwhelming. At JLB Law Group, our team of compassionate Chicago asylum attorneys are dedicated to making the immigration process easier, faster, and safer for victims of persecution. To learn more about how we can help, consider contacting us at (312) 972-7969 today.  

What Is Asylum?

Asylum refers to a form of protection that is given to individuals, legally known as refugees, who are forced to flee their home countries. Under international law, asylum can be granted to a person who is unable or unwilling to return to their home country and cannot obtain protection in their home country due to past persecution or fear of future persecution on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a specific social group. 

Persecution is defined as harm or threat of harm to you, your family, or people who are similar to you in a certain way. Based on this definition, if you have experienced violence or extreme oppression at the hands of others in your home country, you may be eligible to pursue asylum. It should be noted that asylum is available to individuals within the United States. For those outside the United States, refugee status is applicable. 

Through asylum, a person is allowed to remain in the United States without fear of deportation or removal. Individuals who are granted asylum are able to live permanently in the United States, pursue citizenship, and apply for their children and spouses to join them in the country. When a person is granted asylum status, they are eligible to work in the United States as well as travel internationally and receive certain governmental benefits. 

The Challenges of Seeking Asylum

In some cases, asylum applications are straightforward and easy to navigate. For example, an individual who is located in the United States, has experienced severe past persecution that can be demonstrated through documentation, and has never committed crimes in their home country or the United States will likely have a strong chance of obtaining asylum. At this time, JLB Law Group is only able to work with asylum applicants in the US.

The majority of cases, on the other hand, are more complicated. If there are any facts that may appear to undermine the case, it is necessary to address these issues head on within the application. After spending over a decade representing asylum seekers in the United States, we have come to understand which cases are more challenging and require a greater deal of preparation, documentation, and evidence within the application. 

  • Criminal Issues: When applying for asylum, the individual will be asked to disclose information regarding their past criminal convictions and arrests. Applicants will be considered ineligible for asylum if they have committed a “particularly serious crime” such as an aggravated felony. Understanding what is considered a particularly serious crime under immigration law is highly complex, but a Chicago asylum attorney at the Law Office of Jennifer L. Bennett can provide a fuller definition of the term. 
  • Dual Nationality: Holding dual citizenship can complicate a person’s application for asylum. This is because asylum was designed as a last resort option for individuals who have nowhere else to go to escape persecution. If the applicant has a safe place in another country, namely their other country of citizenship, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services can remove the person to that country. 
  • LGBTQIA+/H Cases: There are a variety of challenges that arise in these cases, often requiring a great deal of evidence and proof to overcome. Prior marriages and the biases of asylum adjudicators may also impact these applications. 

How Do I Apply for Asylum in the United States?

When you are in the United States, the application for asylum begins by submitting the Form I-589, which requires specific documents including a personal statement. This statement is essential and will include details about why you left your country and why you are unable to safely return. Perhaps the most important aspect of an application for asylum is the evidence and documented support of persecution. This can include a newspaper article that specifically names you, a membership card for a historically persecuted group, or medical records indicating that you experienced violence. 

A lack of well-documented personal evidence will not necessarily lead to denial. In these situations, it is necessary to organize a well-prepared case that contains information regarding the conditions of your country and why these conditions caused you to flee. After submitting all relevant documentation, your application will be processed, and you will be contacted for an interview at the USCIS asylum office. The wait for an interview can take years, unfortunately, depending on the region of the world that you are coming from. 

As most asylum cases are highly complicated and require a high amount of evidence, many applicants seek assistance from a Chicago asylum attorney. An experienced lawyer can help you prepare your case, practice for your interview, and file an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals if your application is denied. While the paperwork required to apply for asylum may seem daunting, it is merely the first step in a long and often difficult process. As the application process proceeds, you will be questioned by immigration officers, who will be looking for holes in the story. Having a Chicago asylum attorney at your side can be a great comfort and ensure that you are prepared and ready for each step of the process. 

Why You Should Hire An Attorney Near You To Help You Apply for Asylum

Regardless of the situation, being a person seeking asylum in the United States is incredibly stressful. Between adjusting to a new country and managing the trauma that you and your family experienced in your former home, navigating the asylum process can seem impossible. The process can be lengthy, tedious and overwhelming, which is why it’s important to contact an asylum attorney to discuss your unique situation and what options might be available to you. Rather than going at it alone, let us take the burden off you and help you navigate applying for asylum. The sooner you reach out, the sooner we can begin helping you. JLB Law Group was established to assist with these cases and ensure that asylum seekers are able to remain in safety. For more information about how we can help you and your family obtain asylee status in the United States, consider contacting our Chicago office today at (312) 972-7969.