The United States is often seen as a haven for people facing political or religious persecution in other parts of the world. Thus, many people who want to escape discrimination or abuse in their home countries will seek asylum in the United States. There are strict rules and deadlines pertaining to applications for asylum, and the failure to abide by them can have devastating consequences for people seeking protection in the United States. If you wish to seek asylum, the capable Boston individual representation immigration attorneys of O’Neil & Hauser P.C. can guide you through the process and gather the evidence needed to provide you with a strong chance of a favorable determination. Immigration makes up over ninety percent of our practice, and we regularly handle asylum matters. All of our attorneys have been practicing immigration law for more than twenty years and have developed the skills needed to provide clients with prompt and effective solutions. Our office is located in Boston, and we help parties with immigration matters globally.Grounds for Granting Asylum
Only people who qualify as refugees under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) will be granted asylum in the United States. The INA describes refugees as people who fled their country because of persecution or fear of persecution due to their religion, race, nationality, or membership in a certain political or social group.
The INA has not specifically defined persecution, but the courts have generally ruled that a threat to a person’s freedom or life due to the individual’s religion, race, political affiliation, or nationality constitutes persecution. Notably, the threats must come from the government of the individual’s native country, a political group, or other parties the government is unable to control. While persecution is frequently physical, it can also be psychological or emotional.
A person seeking asylum bears the burden of proof of establishing that he or she is a refugee as defined by the INA. In part, this means that the application must demonstrate that the harm he or she suffered constitutes persecution. The applicant will also have to verify under oath that the assertions in his or her application are true and offer support for his or her claims, such as testimony and documentary evidence. Asylum applications are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but some harm, such as torture, slavery, and sex trafficking, have been deemed forms of persecution. Even if a person meets the criteria for being deemed a refugee, the adjudicator may nonetheless deny the application.Process of Seeking Asylum
People who meet the INA definition of a refugee and are seeking admission to the United States at an entry port or are already in the country may be eligible for asylum status. A person seeking asylum from within the United States who is not in removal or deportation proceedings must file a completed application, after which he or she should receive notices for biometrics appointments and interviews from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The individual will undergo an interview at a United States asylum office, and in most cases, will receive a decision within two weeks.
A person seeking refugee status from outside of the United States must go to the United States Embassy, a United States Consulate, or the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in his or her country to submit the application. The person will then meet with an asylum officer who will evaluate the merits of his or her application. If the application is approved, the individual will be given a visa that allows him or her to enter the United States.Confer With a Knowledgeable Boston Immigration Attorney
At O’Neil & Hauser P.C., our knowledgeable Boston lawyers take pride in assisting persecuted individuals with the process of seeking asylum, and if we represent you, we will diligently pursue a positive outcome on your behalf. We offer translation services in numerous languages, including Portuguese, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Greek, Italian, French, and Arabic, and a number of our attorneys are bilingual. We are members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and we have a longstanding relationship with several government agencies, developed over our many years in practice. You can reach us by calling our Boston office at (617) 426-8100 or using our form online to set up a conference.