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What Must Be Proven to Win Your Asylum Case?

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2023 | Immigration Law

Thousands of people all over the world apply for residency in the United States. There are dozens of methods one can use to move to the U.S. for work or education, but for many individuals and families, life here can be the difference between life and death. Asylum seekers have a different set of requirements that must be met in order to prove that they should be granted entry. We’ve created an overview of the requirements and how to have a better chance at obtaining asylum.

Qualifications for applying for asylum

Anyone who has suffered or fears they will suffer persecution due to race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, or political opinion in their home country may qualify for asylum once physically present in the U.S. As long as all family members are on U.S. soil, your spouse and children are also able to apply for asylum.

Two ways to apply for asylum:

  • Affirmative Process: Once you arrive in the U.S., you apply for asylum and then begin fingerprinting and background checks. After completion, you will be interviewed by an asylum officer, then they will determine if you can be granted asylum or if they will refer your case to the immigration court.
  • Defensive Process: An application for asylum that is used as a defense against removal/deportation from the U.S. This can happen if you have been referred by an asylum officer to the immigration court after a credible fear or affirmative asylum interview, or if you were apprehended while entering the U.S, or without documentation while in the U.S. This process is commenced in court before an immigration judge, government officials, yourself, and an attorney. The judge will determine if you are eligible for asylum.
    • Credible Fear Interview: This is an interview where an asylum officer will determine if you can establish before an asylum officer or an immigration Judge a “significant possibility”, that you have been persecuted or have a well-founded fear of persecution in your home country.

Proving the need for asylum

When experiencing persecution in your country of origin, it is obvious to those around you that asylum is the best option. While in the U.S. you have to paint a picture for government officials. There are specific documentary burdens placed on asylum seekers due to the REAL ID Act. This law created the requirements to qualify for asylum as well as the required evidence to prove persecution. In addition to obtaining proof, applicants must appear to be “credible.” That means that officials will judge more than just the evidence put before them, but also the way you look and act to determine if they believe what you are telling them.

The evidence must include the applicant’s testimony about their situation. Examples of evidence of persecution should include personal testimony regarding how your life has been affected and outline real-life situations that have caused you to believe that you are in danger. Although personal testimony alone is sometimes sufficient, it’s up to the immigration authorities to accept or deny your testimony. Each asylum seeker must heavily rely on gaining as much corroborating evidence as possible, including documented testimony from those who experienced or witnessed the persecution. For example, if you were routinely beaten by law enforcement or local groups, you may be required to obtain corroborating testimony from your neighbors or family members to qualify as proof.

Immigrants have already been through a great deal of persecution and hardship, and the process of applying for asylum alone can be a traumatic experience. Attorney Patricia Hernandez has been representing asylum seekers for over 11 years both at the Asylum Office and at Immigration court. For effective and empathetic legal counsel, visit our website or call 305-596-3618 for a consultation.