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A Florida Asylum Attorney Will Help With The Complex Asylum Process

Asylum is a form of protection offered to foreign nationals who qualify as refugees. A refugee is defined by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) as a person who has fled war, violence, conflict, or persecution and has crossed an international border to find safety in another country. When they seek asylum, they may have newly arrived at the United States border or may already reside in the United States. Seeking asylum is a formal legal process, and it is best to have the assistance of a Florida asylum lawyer when going through it.  

Who Is Eligible for Asylum in Florida

There are certain criteria a foreign national must meet to be eligible for asylum in the United States. 

Location Matters

An asylum seeker must be at a port of entry to the United States. 

Application Required

An asylum seeker must submit an application for asylum to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) or the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) within one year of arrival to the United States. A Florida asylum attorney can help with the completion of the application process. 

Refugee Status & Persecution

A person seeking asylum must be able to show that they are a refugee as defined under United States law. Also, there must be a real showing that they have either suffered past persecution or have a well-founded fear of persecution should they return to their country. 

Simply being afraid is not enough to meet these criteria. 

Five types of persecution may be shown. They are:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Political opinion
  • Membership in a particular social group

Proving persecution may be a difficult feat. It is very fact-dependent and is generally seen as the infliction of suffering or harm. A credible, serious threat to life or freedom is also usually considered a form of persecution. This includes, in many cases:

  • Torture
  • Imprisonment
  • Interference with family

It is important to note that the fear of persecution is not specific to one area but must apply no matter where the asylum seeker lives in the country they wish to leave. The key is the showing of a pattern of persecution of people that have the same beliefs or other characteristics in common with the asylum seeker.  

Forms of Asylum & the Application Process

There are two application processes for asylum seekers to the United States. They are affirmative asylum and defensive asylum.

Affirmative Asylum

The affirmative asylum process is utilized when the applicant is not in removal proceedings. The applicant may apply for asylum with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is a division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The applicant must prepare and submit the required forms and be interviewed at their local USCIS office. If the applicant is unsuccessful with this attempt, they will be referred to removal proceedings. At that time, the applicant can renew their request for asylum through the defensive asylum process. 

Defensive Asylum

The defensive asylum process is utilized when the applicant is in removal proceedings. This is the route for people that are defending themselves against deportation. While the same forms are required to be submitted as in the affirmative asylum application process, the application goes directly to an immigration judge in the defensive asylum process. The application is accepted, then a hearing is scheduled. At the hearing, the applicant will need to be prepared to defend themselves against deportation. They can present evidence, witnesses, and their own testimony to bolster their case. 

Removal Proceedings

Removal proceedings are hearings before an immigration judge. The judge will determine whether or not a person who does not have a current, valid immigration status is allowed to stay in the United States. It is best when appearing in a removal proceeding to retain a Florida asylum lawyer.

Asylum & Working

Many people who have filed for asylum wish to work while their application is pending. The good news is that once asylum has been granted, the person is able to live and work in the United States.  

Working while an asylum application is pending is a different story. In most current cases, the applicant may seek employment authorization only after an application for asylum has been pending for 365 calendar days. There are reasons why an applicant may be denied permission to work while their asylum application is pending, including certain criminal convictions or offenses. Also, if the applicant has caused a delay in processing their application for asylum, their request to work may be denied. 

Consult With An Experienced Florida Asylum Attorney

If you need a Florida asylum lawyer, contact Eddy Chielo at Chielo Law, PLLC. He may be reached by calling 954-589-5521 or via his firm’s contact page.