By Julie Sparks in Asylum | on 2023-06-13 17:58:46
Individuals who have been persecuted in their home country can apply for and obtain asylum in the U.S. if they satisfy the requirements under U.S. immigration law. One can also apply for asylum if they have a well-founded fear of being persecuted in their home country. At J. Sparks Law, we help clients in the Austin area to apply for asylum based on various grounds, including political persecution.
To be granted asylum based on political persecution or any other ground, you must be a “refugee,” which basically means you are unable or unwilling to return to your home country because you have suffered persecution there or you have a well-founded fear of being persecuted there. It is important to note, however, that one can still be denied asylum even if they meet the definition of a refugee.
This is why it is important to make sure you have an experienced immigration lawyer to help you in the preparation and filing of your asylum application.
The law does not specifically define political persecution, but courts have said that a threat to life or freedom because of one’s political opinion is persecution. The courts have also said one can be granted asylum because of being persecuted for “perceived” persecution, meaning for being persecuted not for a political opinion they have expressed but because their persecutors falsely attribute the opinion to them.
However, it is important that you demonstrate with evidence that you have suffered harm that is serious enough to rise to the level of persecution. It is not enough to simply say you have expressed views that are contrary to those acceptable to your persecutor; rather, the expression of those views must be accompanied by your suffering serious harm because of it.
For example, if you are an activist for women’s rights and you were arrested and beaten for trying to organize women in your local area, this could be grounds for obtaining asylum based on political opinion. In this example, you need not even organize the women in your local area; if you are outspoken enough in calling for equality for women and you are harmed because of it, this could be grounds for asylum alone.
There are three primary ways one can apply for asylum in the United States: affirmative, defensive, and expedited.
Affirmative application means you are not in removal/deportation proceedings but are submitting your application for asylum to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for consideration.
A defensive application means you are in removal/deportation proceedings and file your application for asylum with an immigration judge presiding over your case. An expedited asylum application means you were taken into custody within 14 days of entering the U.S. and placed in “expedited removal,” where a judge will quickly decide whether you should be deported or not. You can apply for asylum in these expedited proceedings.
If you have been the victim of political persecution in your home country or fear persecution if you are forced to return there, contact us today for a consultation and learn how we can help you.
Julie Sparks is Board-certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Immigration and Nationality Law, one of a few such attorneys in Texas. After 15 years of practice in this field, she has represented immigrants from more than 70 countries.
Ms. Sparks is a member of the Texas Bar Association and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Julie has also been a featured speaker at Southwestern Law School and at the national 2015 AILA Fundamentals Conference.