Asylum is a form of protection that foreign nationals can request from the US government when they fear persecution or harm in their home country. This post will help show you how to win your asylum case.
Most importantly, an individual must demonstrate that they are unable to return to their home country due to past or future potential persecution.
This persecution must have occurred because of the asylum applicant's race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or due to their political opinion. Foreign nationals must be physically present in the US to apply for asylum. This means that they can apply if they are in the US or upon reaching the US border.
Foreign nationals in deportation proceedings can also apply for asylum. Once a person is granted asylum they cannot be returned to their home country. After one year the asylee can apply for legal permanent residency (LPR) status, otherwise known as a green card. Four years after an asylee receives their green card they can apply for citizenship in the United States.
An individual can apply for asylum with or without the assistance of attorney. However, the asylum process can be complicated and properly presenting an asylum case is critical to the success of the case.
An experienced immigration attorney can help an applicant prepare and present their case in the best possible fashion. Although an attorney is not required to file for asylum in the United States, it is strongly recommended.
Preparing your asylum case
Winning asylum is difficult, and in recent years the asylum process has become more complicated. However, with the right support the asylum process can be quicker and easier.
A winning asylum case requires careful preparation, detailed documentation, and solid evidence and country conditions content. It is not enough to demonstrate that conditions in the home country are inferior. Poor country conditions, such as high crime, few/bad economic opportunities, or even conflict conditions, by themselves, are not enough for someone to be granted asylum.
An applicant must demonstrate that they were personally and directly targeted, or will be targeted in the future. The applicant must also show that this targeting is due to their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, and/or political opinion. These five targeting factors are known collectively as protected grounds in US immigration law.
You must present your case in a way that clearly describes the persecution you have experienced in the past and/or distinctly explain the reasonable fear you have of future persecution.
Persecution is serious or disproportionate victimization or harm. It is ill-treatment that rises above the level of harassment or discomfort. Persecution can take the form of violence, attacks, torture, significant punishment and/or the violations or denial of basic human rights.
Your asylum case must make very clear that you face these serious risks because of one or more of the five protected grounds. You must also show that your assailants are a group or entity that cannot or will not be controlled by the government and authorities. It also very important to explain that there is no safe place in your home country that you can relocate to.
To clearly and distinctly explain your situation and persecution, it is important to focus on three major sections of your asylum case. The three sections are the I-589 application form, a personal statement, and a two-part evidence section covering evidence of your persecution as well as country conditions in your home country. To create a winning asylum case keep in mind the following information in each of these noted sections below.
Asylum I-589 Application Form
The first portion of the I-589 Application form requires personal data and information. Carefully read the form and make sure you understand exactly what is being requested in each question. Make sure to input the information EXACTLY as it is being requested. Many people don’t read the instructions carefully and often forget to write out complete addresses and dates. Many applicants also make incorrect assumptions about the questions. For example on Question 3 on Page 4 (Part A.III) asks for information about an applicant’s education history. Applicants often incorrectly assume that the only information they need to include is higher education (college, university) information. In reality, the question is asking for all education information going back to the very first school ever attended, perhaps kindergarten or even pre-school. Making incorrect assumptions like this can result in an incomplete application and USCIS could return an application they feel has not been completely and correctly filled out.
Filling out the I-589 application form correctly is very important. A complete asylum application guide on how to correctly fill out the application form can also be found here.
In addition, if after you submit your application, you find a mistake(s) on your application form you can address these mistakes during your asylum interview. Make a note of the mistakes and let the USCIS officer know where the corrections need to be made.
How to write your asylum Personal Statement
A personal statement is not an explicit requirement for an asylum case but it can be a critical component of a winning asylum case. Although the I-589 application form asks many different questions about the persecution you faced, a separate personal statement will allow you to explain your story chronologically and thoroughly.
Your personal statement should explain everything that happened to you and should provide general and important details. It is also important to remember that you will discuss your story during your interview so the personal statement will be a sort of guide for the USCIS officer to get a general understanding of the events, threats, and harm that affected you. Make sure that your written testimony is true, complete, and consistent.
Your written statement should not contradict anything written in any other portion of your application, including the I-589 form or the evidence sections. This is why it is so important that everything in your asylum application is honest and truthful to the best of your ability. Although honest mistakes can occur, it is best to try and minimize mistakes and inconsistencies.
As part of your personal statement make sure that you include relevant details regarding your persecution as well as the reasons for that persecution. Ensure that you explain how these reasons connect back to the protected grounds previously mentioned. The statement should also explain all the instances you were persecuted or threatened and explain how authorities responded to these incidents.
Did the government, police, or authorities disregard or even endorse the actions against you? Or perhaps the state was unable to protect you. Make sure that you explain these details in your statement.
There is no specific length that your personal statement should be and all cases and stories are different. Some cases are more complex or they occurred for a longer period of time, or they may have involved more people. As such, the length of personal statements can vary significantly.
With that said, 1 page may be a bit short and a statement containing dozens of pages is probably too long. However, there is no exact number.
Instead of worrying about the number of pages to write, you should focus on explaining your story and incidents thoroughly and use as many pages as necessary to achieve this. In most cases, applicants find that focusing on the story when they write will result in the right number of pages for their case.
Gather Evidence For Your asylum claim
The evidence you provide to back up your asylum case is very important to the success of a case. The evidence section of your asylum case should contain two sections.
One section should contain personal evidence to support your story of persecution.
The second section should be a Country Conditions section that includes media articles and other reports that provide information about your home country and the conditions that you describe in your story.
Section 1: Personal evidence of Asylum applicants
Personal evidence can come in many forms and there are no exact documents that you need for any specific case. You can include as much evidence as you want or as little as you have. While the level of evidence you have does not determine your eligibility to apply, it is best to try and include as much evidence to support your case as possible.
Below is a list of types of evidence that could be submitted to support someone’s case. This is not an exhaustive list and any other types of evidence you have should be included.
Be careful to read all the documents you submit as evidence to make sure that nothing contradicts any other part of your case. Sometimes minor mistakes on such third-party documents can pose a problem to the consistency of your story.
Examples of Asylum Evidence
- Affidavits or letters from family members, neighbors, or witnesses who can speak to your story or even just one or more of the incidents that occurred to you.
- Documents showing your work, education status, or residence if these points were important to your story.
- Relevant social media posts, text messages, emails, or letters referencing some part of the events that impacted you.
- Medical documents from the past showing any harm that occurred or even a recent medical assessment for any visible or medically verifiable injuries.
- Psychological evaluation regarding the emotional toll you have suffered due to your persecution and/or threats.
- Police or any legal documents referencing your persecution, harm, or threats.
- Pictures or screen shots of images from videos of anything that captures incidents that impacted you.
Section 2: Country Conditions Evidence
The second section of the evidence section of a strong asylum case is the Country Conditions portion. This type of evidence is from external media sources and other reports and even expert testimony explaining the conditions in your home country.
You should submit this kind of documentation as corroborating evidence to give the USCIS officer background information about the general conditions and the state of human rights in your country of origin.
You should include various newspaper articles, government reports, NGO reports as well as academic papers and other documentation. You should try and include both general reports about your country as well as reports that speak to the specific conditions you experienced.
General reports such the US State Department’s latest Human Rights Report for your country should be included as a primary source. Once again there is no exact number of articles or reports that you should include but you should include more than 10 reports or media articles.
Please remember to completely read each article you want to include before you include it in your case. Media sources and external reports can also make mistakes and/or have a different opinion or impression of conditions.
Do not include reports that may harm your case. Also please remember that you should print out all of the reports you want to submit and include a list of these articles as an index in your case.
Immigration Lawyers Can Help you win an Asylum Case
Asylum seekers need an experienced lawyer to represent them in front of an immigration judge, and asylum applicants have a better chance at winning their asylum case if they hire an attorney.
The lawyers are Shoreline Immigration are here to help you file the I-589 application form, advise you on gathering evidence, and consulting you about the asylum process.
If you have any questions about how to win asylum in the United State, please contact our law firm to learn more.