The United States, a nation built on the principles of freedom and human rights, has long been a beacon of hope for individuals fleeing persecution in their home countries. The U.S. asylum system offers protection to those who have suffered persecution or have a well-founded fear of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Understanding Asylum

Asylum is a protection granted to foreign nationals in the U.S. or at the border who meet the international law definition of a “refugee.” The U.S. Refugee Act of 1980 standardized the asylum process, ensuring that those who qualify as refugees are not returned to situations where their life or freedom would be threatened.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for asylum, an individual must demonstrate:

  1. A well-founded fear of persecution.
  2. The persecution is due to one of the five protected grounds: race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
  3. They are not barred from seeking asylum due to certain disqualifying factors, such as committing serious crimes.

The Asylum Process

  1. Affirmative Asylum Process: Individuals who are already in the U.S. and have not been placed in removal proceedings can apply for asylum with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  2. Defensive Asylum Process: This is for individuals who are in removal proceedings. They can request asylum as a defense against removal from the U.S.

Key Statistics

The U.S. has seen a significant increase in asylum applications in recent years, with many applicants coming from the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Despite the rise in applications, the approval rates have varied, with many applicants facing challenges in navigating the complex legal system.

Challenges and Controversies: The U.S. asylum system has faced criticism and challenges, including:

Long backlogs and wait times.

Policies that limit access to the asylum process.

Concerns about the treatment of asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Seeking asylum in the U.S. is a complex process that requires a deep understanding of the legal system. At Karina Ordonez Law Office, PLLC, we are committed to guiding individuals through this journey, ensuring that their rights are protected and that they receive the best possible legal representation.