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Asylum Law: Myth vs. Reality

Bridge Team Member

The United States is one of many countries that offers Asylum as a form of immigration. This post will help you better understand the law and informs you of the facts and myths about this topic.

U.S Asylum Law Overview

The United States supports the right of asylum of individuals according to international and federal law. The right of asylum is the right of alien fugitives to protection in a country or its embassy. A person seeking asylum is considered a refugee if they meet all of three requirements:

  • Applicant must establish that he or she fears persecution
  • Applicant must prove that he or she would be persecuted on account of one of five protected grounds (race, religion, nationality, political opinion, and social group)
  • Applicant must establish that the government is either involved in the persecution, or unable to control the conduct of private actors.

Defining a refugee:

Refugees are usually survivors of unimaginable atrocities. Their families or friends may have been victims of violence or such that resulted in death. They have been politically discriminated against or in many cases beaten or raped due to religious beliefs, race, ethnicity or other aspects of their identity.

Myths vs. Reality:

MYTH: Refugees Do Not Pay Taxes

REALITY: Refugees are subject to the same employment, property, sales, and other taxes as any U.S Citizen. Refugees cannot vote, however.

MYTH: Refugees Take Jobs From U.S Workers

REALITY: Evidence from the U.S Labor departments proves this myth wrong. Since refugees are not provided any special treatment when obtaining employment, they must apply and compete for jobs the same as any citizen.

MYTH: Refugees Receive Special Monetary Benefits from the U.S Government to Purchase Homes, Cars, and Other Items

REALITY: No monetary benefits are given to refugees when they arrive in the U.S., however, there are minimal benefits available during emergencies and for the medically needy. Refugees must apply for these benefits and meet certain requirements.

MYTH: Refugees Come to the U.S for Economic Reasons

REALITY: Refugees come to the United States because they were forced to flee their homeland, often with no belongings, family, or friends.

MYTH: The United States Is the Only Country to Accept Refugees

REALITY: There are a total of 24 countries around the world that accept refugees. These include China, Germany, and Australia.

Surprising Facts about the U.S Asylum Law:

  • LGBT asylum applicants who have been persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity are considered to be members of a particular social group for asylum purposes
  • An affidavit is required with the submission of your application
  • You must show a 10% chance of persecution if you were to return to your homeland.
  • You may not travel to your home after you get asylum
  • You may not use your passport from your country to travel internationally after you get asylum
  • Regulations define an asylum application as frivolous "if any of its material elements is deliberately fabricated" and the alien shall be permanently ineligible for any benefits under the Immigration and Nationality Act

How to apply for asylum in the United States

  • File with USCIS (U.S Citizenship and Immigration Service) or before a judge if being deported. The process requires applicants to provide detailed information regarding past activities, experiences of persecution, and current fear of persecution.
  • Applicant will be carefully questioned by either the USCIS Asylum Officer or before an Immigration Judge. A challenge by the judge or cross examination by an ICE (U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement) attorney may also occur.
  • Applicants are not legally credible and may be denied if the adjudicator does not find the claim truthful. Falsehoods or inconsistencies will lead to this finding.
  • It is up to the applicant to secure the evidence to meet the definition of a refugee.

Hopefully you have a better understanding of the Asylum law in the United States. It is a tricky process in many cases and is strongly recommended that you work with a lawyer to apply. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!

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