Atlanta Refugee & Asylum Lawyer
Refugee & asylum seekers are individuals who have either suffered or fear persecution by their home country based on:
- Political opinion.
- Membership in a particular social group.
Individuals who have suffered past persecution for one of the above protected grounds may be eligible for asylum in the United States or entry as a refugee.
To begin your application for asylum, you must complete Form I-589, Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal. If you believe you qualify for asylum in the United States on the aforementioned grounds, the Atlanta refugee & asylum lawyers at Shirazi Immigration Law can help you file your asylum application and navigate your case through the complex U.S. immigration system.
What to Know About Asylum
Asylum is typically sought by people who believe they are in danger due to their political beliefs or religious affiliation in the country of their nationality. They may be in trouble for speaking out against the government or simply belong to a persecuted ethnic minority. The applicant for asylum must be able to prove they have a credible fear of death or torture if they return to their home country or provide evidence of past persecution.
U.S. immigration recognizes both affirmative and defensive applications for asylum. An affirmative application is one submitted by a person within one year of arriving in the United States. A defensive application is often filed after a person has been picked up by ICE and subject to a deportation order. A grant of asylum is one way to prevent removal from the country.
Getting approved for asylum in the U.S. can be difficult. People who possess controversial opinions in their home country may find their opinions are controversial here too, making it harder to present a successful application. A record of criminal convictions can also make it hard to get asylum, yet persecuted individuals and minorities are more likely to have a criminal record precisely because they have been persecuted.
The asylum approval process involves an interview with either a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official (affirmative applications) or a federal immigration court representative (defensive application). Less than a third of affirmative petitions are granted after the interview. Denial of an affirmative petition will send you into immigration court under a removal order.
Whether you are filing an affirmative or defensive petition for asylum, be sure to have an experienced and dedicated immigration attorney help you prepare your petition and represent you at every step. In Georgia, call the Atlanta immigration attorneys at Shirazi Immigration Law for help.
What to Know About Refugee Status
The definition of a refugee is the same as an asylum seeker – past persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political persuasion, or membership in a particular social group. The difference is that a refugee is currently outside of the United States (and also outside their home country in most instances) and is unable or unwilling to return to their home country based on the above reasons. Asylum seekers, on the other hand, are already in the U.S. when they apply or are seeking admission for asylum at a U.S. port of entry.
The process for a refugee to get permission to enter the U.S. requires permission from the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). USRAP receives referrals from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a U.S. Embassy, or a non-governmental organization (NGO) that assists refugees, so seeking help from one of these entities is a good place to start.
Once approved, the individual is screened and sent through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This process involves preparing and filing a Form I-590 Registration for Classification as a Refugee and going through required biometric screenings. Refugee applicants should seek out a financial sponsor for travel and initial expenses, such as a family member or charity, although these costs can be covered by the government as well.
Refugees have one year to apply for a Green Card. They can live and work indefinitely in the U.S. and can apply for citizenship through naturalization after four years. Refugees who are denied entry are entitled to a hearing on their denial. You can and should be represented by an experienced immigration attorney at this hearing.
Get Help With Refugee & Asylum in Atlanta
The United States holds out a lifeline for individuals and their families who face persecution at home because of their ethnic makeup or religious or political beliefs. For help settling in the U.S. under asylum or refugee status, call Shirazi Immigration Law at 404-523-3611 to discuss your case and explore your options with a caring and dedicated Atlanta immigration attorney.