California Asylum Lawyer
The concept of asylum states that anyone fleeing persecution or other forms of targeted violence should be provided a safe haven within a country with the resources to do so. While the United States of America’s asylum policies fluctuate wildly according to the priorities of various administrations and agencies, the core vision of providing safety to those in need largely stands intact.
Today, America’s asylum procedures make it more difficult than in the past to remain lawfully in the U.S. as an asylum-seeker. Nevertheless, tens of thousands of individuals are granted protected asylum status each year, allowing them to delay deportation and other actions until their case is fully decided. Roughly 30% – 40% of asylum requests receive approval, and most cases can expect several years’ worth of delays once the request for asylum has been granted.
Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law can help you determine if seeking asylum status is the most-appropriate avenue considering your goals for remaining in the U.S. We have helped thousands of individuals seek asylum through our legal representation, and we have helped hundreds of thousands more avoid or delay their deportation.
If you are a protected individual or someone who is otherwise concerned about their safety should you be forced to return to your home country, reach out to our offices today to schedule a confidential, no-obligation case review. You will be put in contact with an asylum lawyer to help you strategize your case, prepare all needed paperwork, and know what to expect of the asylum seeking process. Schedule your case today when you Call (559) 878-4958 or Contact us online.
What Types of Cases Does a California Asylum Attorney Typically Handle?
Asylum status is only granted in cases where the applicant can demonstrate credible fear of violence, persecution, unjust incarceration, or other egregious harm stemming from their status as a minority or a member of a targeted community within their home country.
Examples of groups commonly protected by asylum laws include individuals targeted because of their:
- Political alignment
- Membership in a “particular social group”
Regarding the last category, a “particular social group” can encompass any groups persecuted or threatened because of gender identity, sexual preferences, refugee status, socio-economic status, family role, and other categories subject to current USCIS policy. There are also protections for individuals who face past or future threats related to domestic violence or “honor killings.”
Asylum eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis, and not all individuals who meet the listed criteria will be granted asylum status. Individuals who have a criminal conviction for certain types of crimes may be ineligible to request asylum.
An asylum lawyer can also provide assistance with similar methods of avoiding removal and obtaining lawful status to remain in the U.S. — temporarily or permanently.
Who Is Eligible to Request Asylum?
To be eligible to request asylum, the individual must be able to demonstrate that they have a credible fear of egregious harm should they be forced to return to their home country. The individual must also be physically present in the U.S. or at the U.S. border, and they must request asylum within one year of their arrival to the country.
Individuals who are not being subjected to possible removal proceedings can “affirmatively” request asylum from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). If the request for affirmative asylum is denied, and the requestor is residing in the United States without lawful immigration status, then it is highly likely that they will be referred to the immigration courts for removal proceedings.
Anyone in removal proceedings may also request asylum status through a “defensive” proceeding, filing for a stay of removal from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) in the Department of Justice. This is one of the most common methods of seeking asylum.
Certain individuals taken into custody within 14 days of their arrival to the United States may be subjected to “expedited removal” proceedings through a new process begun in 2022. This process allows USCIS to quickly remove individuals without having to request permission or verification from higher-level courts.
These same individuals can request asylum under an “expedited asylum” process, newly created in 2022 to help reduce the backlog of asylum requests immigration courts currently face. USCIS asylum officers will screen the requestor for relevant factors, including the “credible fear” they face, and either approve asylum status or deny the request and subject the individual to hasty removal proceedings.
What Is Needed to Apply for Asylum?
Anyone meeting the above criteria can file Form I-589 with USCIS to request asylum. However, only certain individuals may file Form I-589 online. Those who cannot file online include individuals who:
- Have entered proceedings with the immigration court or the Board of Immigration Appeals
- Qualify as an unaccompanied child (see 6 U.S.C. § 279(g)) and are facing removal
- Fall within a category indicated on the Special Instructions section of the Form I-589 web page that requires them to file by mail
- Have already filed a previous Form I-589 and the status is still pending
When considering approval for asylum, the USCIS, Justice Department, and/or ICE will determine if you qualify as a protected individual facing a credible and likely threat of harm to themselves, their family, or their ability to sustain a livelihood in their country.
Can I Request Asylum for My Spouse and Children?
Asylum may be granted for certain family members declared on the I-589 form, including unmarried children under the age of 21 and spouses who meet the qualifications listed above.
Can I Obtain Legal Resident Status or Citizenship After Being Granted Asylum?
In some cases, yes. Those staying in the U.S. under its asylum program may be eligible to request a Green Card or to begin the naturalization process. Refer to your California asylum attorney for information on eligibility and how to start this process.
Can I Work Legally in the U.S. If I Have Been Granted Asylum?
Yes, provided you are able to obtain authorization from the USCIS. According to the American Immigration Counsel:
“A person granted asylum is protected from being returned to his or her home country, is eligible to apply for authorization to work in the United States, may apply for a Social Security card, may request permission to travel overseas, and can petition to bring family members to the United States. Asylees may also be eligible for certain government programs, such as Medicaid or Refugee Medical Assistance.”
How Does “Withholding of Removal” Status Differ From Being Granted Asylum?
Individuals who have been granted an indefinite “withholding of removal” have a different status with lesser protections and future avenues for naturalization compared to individuals given asylum.
For one, withholding of removal lapses the moment the individual leaves U.S. borders. They also cannot petition for family members to join them in the U.S., nor do they have a possible path for citizenship. In some cases, these individuals may be eligible to stay under a temporary visa or a permanent resident (Green Card) status.
Convention Against Torture (CAT) Protections
The United States is a participant in the UN’s global efforts to protect victims of torture. By ratifying the Torture Convention treaty, the U.S. essentially agrees that they cannot force the return of a person to a country “where they are likely to face torture.”
Individuals who do not qualify for asylum status or withholding of removal may be eligible for protections under the CAT. Approval for protections under this program requires stringent evidence of torture. Those approved will be either granted withholding of removal indefinitely or deferral of removal for a predetermined period.
Seek Asylum and Other Protections From a California Asylum Attorney
Whether seeking asylum or avoiding removal to your home country through other means, Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law dedicates itself to helping individuals like you. We can represent you and assist you through the process of seeking asylum as well as withholding of removal or other protections afforded by programs like CAT.
Our attorneys have decades of collective experience assisting hundreds of thousands of individuals in their efforts to remain lawfully in the U.S. Whether you simply wish to stay and work indefinitely or are eager to start the process of obtaining a Green Card or citizenship, we can help you understand the big picture and start you along your journey towards fulfilling your goals.