A person can qualify for asylum, or political asylum, if he or she has a reasonable fear, of future persecution, on account of race, religion, national origin, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
A reasonable fear just means one need not prove conclusively that they will be persecuted in the future; only that they have a good reason to fear that it will happen. Courts have granted asylum in the US to people who have as little as a ten to fifteen percent chance of persecution in the future. Persecution means that the harm an asylum seeker is afraid of is severe enough to be considered a serious violation of one’s human rights. A loss of money or small restriction on liberty is typically not enough to constitute persecution, while a serious threat to one’s life or liberty is more likely to be considered persecution.
Race, religion, and national origin are fairly straightforward. Political opinion asylum does not necessarily require a political opinion in order to be a protected opinion; an opinion about a nonpolitical issue can sometimes qualify. An imputed political opinion is sufficient for asylum purposes. A particular social group is a group of people with a common, immutable trait that either cannot be changed or should never be forced to change. Tribal and ethnic groups, female victims of domestic violence, and people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) commonly fit into this category.
Other Humanitarian Visas
Aside from asylum and refugees, the United States offers several other humanitarian immigration options for people in need of help. So, even if an asylum application ultimately fails, there still may be options to prevent deportation.
Withholding of Removal
A person is eligible for Withholding of Removal if he or she can show it is more likely than not that, upon returning to his or her home country, he or she would be persecuted on account of race, religion, national origin, political opinion or membership in a social group. Someone receiving withholding of removal cannot be deported to the country where they fear persecution. In practice, a person with withholding of removal can stay and work in the United States permanently, although they cannot get a Green Card or citizenship. Withholding of Removal is a good option for people who fear persecution but are denied Asylum because of the one year or other bars. People who persecute others or who have committed serious crimes in the past are not eligible for Withholding of Removal.
Convention Against Torture (CAT) Relief
The Convention Against Torture (CAT) is an international treaty signed by 151 countries, including the United States, designed to prevent torture around the world. One of the requirements of the treaty is that a country cannot send someone to a country if that person will be tortured there.
In fulfilling its obligations under the treaty, the United States will not deport anyone who can prove that it is more likely than not that he or she will be tortured upon returning to his or her home country. A person does not have to prove that the torture is done on account of any protected grounds; only that torture will happen.
There is no bar to CAT relief – a criminal, or even a terrorist can avoid deportation by using the CAT. For this reason, CAT is often used by Asylees who have a criminal record but are afraid to return to their home country.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
Sometimes there is a war or natural disaster in a country, making it unsafe to return there. If this happens, the U.S. government will designate that country for Temporary Protected Status. If the government “designates” a country for TPS, then anyone from that country who was living in the United States on that date can apply for TPS. People with TPS cannot be deported and can live and work in the United States as long as the U.S. government believes it is still too dangerous to return to that country.
The following countries are currently designated for TPS (designation date in parenthesis): El Salvador (March 9, 2001), Haiti (July 23, 2011), Honduras (January 5, 1999), Nicaragua (January 5, 1999), Somalia (September 18, 2012), Sudan (May 3, 2013), South Sudan (May 3, 2013), and Syria (March 29, 2012).
Contact a Texas Asylum Attorney Today
An experienced asylum attorney greatly increases the chances of success. If you are afraid of persecution in your home country and would like to get help, contact Law Office Of Yovanna Vargas today at (214) 802-9979 or Text us at (469) 677-8464. We are highly experienced in many types of humanitarian immigration law. We know how difficult and heart wrenching the process can be, and we will be with you every step of the way.