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Seeking asylum in the United States

Many people come to the United States because they were persecuted in their home county. Immigrants may be granted a green card on the basis of persecution even if they are undocumented and facing a removal proceeding. This is known as an asylum claim.

To receive asylum, you generally must file a claim within one year of arriving in the United States. However, there are exceptions that would allow you to apply for asylum after one year.

What is asylum?

Asylum is a special protection the United States Citizen and Immigration Service (CIS) offers to immigrants who are victims of persecution in their home country based on their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. Spouses and children under 21 may be included in an asylum claim. 

It’s not necessary that your government single you out for persecution. If you are part of a persecuted group, that can form the basis for an asylum claim. You must be physically in the United States to apply for asylum.

There are two types of asylum:

  • Affirmative asylum:  You can affirmatively apply for asylum regardless of how you arrived in the United States.
  • Defensive asylum:  If you are in a removal proceeding, you can use an asylum claim as a defense against removal.

Asylum claims are complex, and there are many reasons why the CIS may deny your claim. To improve your chances of success when applying for asylum, you should seek the help of an experienced immigration attorney. The Shelby Law Firm in Baton Rouge offers a free initial consultation to discuss your case if you are seeking legal immigration status on the basis of asylum.

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