Washington DC Asylum Lawyer

If you are afraid to leave the United States and return to your country of origin, you might consider applying for asylum. There are restrictions regarding the individuals who may be eligible for asylum. If you are not sure if you are eligible, an immigration attorney may be able to assess your circumstances and provide valuable advice.

Asylum might be an option for you, even if you are currently facing removal proceedings. Immigration law can be complex, so you might wish to contact a Washington DC asylum lawyer if you have a legitimate fear of persecution in your country of origin.

Basis for an Asylum Application

Someone applying for asylum must be present in the U.S. and prove that they meet the definition of a refugee. A refugee is someone who has suffered past persecution or has a well-founded fear of future persecution if they are returned to their country of origin. However, the asylum applicant must prove that the persecution is due to their:

  • Race
  • Ethnicity/nationality
  • Religion
  • Political beliefs
  • Membership in a particular social group

Additionally, an individual who seeks asylum should apply within one year of their entry into the United States. Although exceptions may apply to the requirement of applying within one year, it can be beneficial to submit the application as soon as practicable.

Types of Asylum Applications in DC

The two main types of asylum applications differ mainly in the presence or absence of removal proceedings. If an individual affirmatively chooses to apply for asylum, they may submit an application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). An interview will occur at the local Asylum Office after the application is filed. If an applicant’s asylum is not granted by the Asylum Office, the Asylum Office refers the case to the Immigration Court and issues a Notice to Appear. The Notice to Appear will contain information regarding the individual’s upcoming hearing before a judge. An asylum attorney in Washington DC can assist an individual in preparation for a hearing.

Removal Proceedings

If an individual seeks asylum during removal proceedings, the process differs. In this situation, an application for asylum is a defense from removal. The proceeding takes place before a judge who allows testimony from the individual, witnesses, and arguments by the individual’s attorney. A judge may order an individual’s removal if the individual is not eligible for relief under asylum.

Withholding of removal is another form of relief for which an individual in removal proceedings can apply. Withholding is an option that may be available to individuals who do not qualify for asylum.

Although there is a higher standard of proof for withholding, it can be beneficial in that the individual who fears persecution cannot be removed from the United States. However, the benefits of withholding are not as extensive as the benefits for an asylee as there is no path to obtaining lawful permanent resident status.

Convention Against Torture

Finally, an individual may seek protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). If an individual faces a real threat of harm if returned to their home country, they may be able to qualify for CAT protection.

Although the benefits under CAT are not as extensive as the benefits under asylum, this can be an avenue that protects an individual from being tortured in their country of origin.

Speak with a Washington DC Asylum Attorney Today

It is important to investigate available options before deadlines pass. An attorney can assist you throughout various stages of the process. Whether you are submitting an affirmative application for asylum or mounting a defense against removal, an immigration lawyer can help. Call a Washington DC asylum lawyer to discuss your options today.

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