Atlanta Refugees and Asylum Lawyer
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Seeking asylum status in the United States is not an easy process. A qualified immigration lawyer will be able to help make sure no steps are missed and that your application has every single detail required. Hiring a lawyer for asylum is always a good idea, and will give you the best chance at success.
Refugees are protected by the Refugee Act of 1980 which was based on the United Nations 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocols relating to the Status of Refugees. Currently, the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) provides the rules by which people can seek refugee status in the United States.
Currently, people who are in the United States based on their refugee or asylum status do have a path to citizenship. The first step is to apply for a Green Card. This process can be started after someone has physically been in the United States for at least one year.
Understanding the complexities of the laws governing asylum and refugee seekers in the United States can be challenging, but with an experienced refugees and asylum lawyer assisting in the process, the steps can be much easier to follow.
Here you will find an overview of asylum and refugee laws as well as explain what an Atlanta immigration lawyer dedicated to helping refugees and asylum seekers can do to help.
What is the difference between refugees and asylum seekers?
Refugees and asylum seekers share a lot of common traits. Both are seeking a legal status that will allow them access to the United States because of persecution on the grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership in a specific identity group, or political opinion. In other words, both refugees and asylum seekers are attempting to find safety amid persecution that threatens their life or livelihood.
The difference between refugees and asylum seekers is rooted in their current location. Those seeking refugee status do so from outside the United States. Upon a successful refugee application, the individual granted refugee status will be allowed to enter the United States and begin working immediately upon entry. After one year, refugees may apply for a Green Card.
Asylum seekers, on the other hand, are already in the United States. Their petition is to remain in the country because of the threat of persecution if they return to their country of origin. Like those granted refugee status, individuals granted asylum are eligible to work and may apply for a Green Card after one year.
The United States has "historically led the world in refugee resettlement numbers," but recent years have seen a precipitous drop. As the Migration Policy Institute reports, the number of refugee resettlement places available for use is expected to increase dramatically.
How is refugee or asylum eligibility determined?
The most important part of the refugee or asylum process is demonstrating eligibility. As the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services explains, an eligible refugee is someone who meets the following conditions:
- Currently located outside the United States
- Qualifies as being of special humanitarian concern to the United States
- Demonstrates persecution for a qualifying status (race, religion, nationality, social group membership, political opinion)
- Not firmly resettled in another country
Those who are seeking asylum must also prove persecution for a qualifying status in order to remain in the United States.
In addition, those granted refugee status have two years to file applications for their spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21. Likewise, asylum seekers may include their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 on their applications.
What is the process for obtaining asylum or refugee status?
For both asylum seekers and refugees, there is a process that begins with an application. Refugees must receive a referral to the U.S. Refugees Admission Program (USRAP). Asylum seekers will fill out Form I-589 to signal their intent to seek asylum.
Both refugees and asylum seekers will have to undergo an interview as part of the application process. These interviews will be used to determine several things:
- Verifying the applicant's identity
- Establishing that the applicant meets the eligibility requirements by having suffered or having a well-founded fear that they will suffer persecution for a qualifying identity/status
- Establishing that the applicant has not participated in the persecution of others
How can an applicant prepare for the refugee or asylum process?
The application process for refugee or asylum status can be complex and involve a lot of waiting. It is important to stay on top of forms and show up on time to any scheduled meetings. In particular, it is important to be prepared for the interview portion of the application process. This includes the following considerations:
- Applicants will need all identification and travel documents available.
- Applicants may have an attorney present during the interview.
- Those who cannot fully participate in the interview in English must bring an interpreter.
- All individuals included in the application must be present for the interview.
- Evidence of likely persecution will be an important part of the process.
How can a refugees and asylum lawyer help?
Having an experienced and passionate immigration attorney by your side during the application process for asylum or refugee status can help make sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. An attorney can review materials and help to establish eligibility for refugee or asylum status by identifying evidence that demonstrates the applicant's qualification.
The qualification for refugee or asylum status sets a high bar, and hardships or criminal prosecution for legal violations do not meet these requirements. The refugee or asylum seeker must demonstrate serious persecution including threats of death, physical abuse, torture, or denial of education or employment due to their qualifying status. An attorney can evaluate asylum and refugee status claims in order to help those seeking these statuses understand their rights, responsibilities, and next steps.
Get Help From an Atlanta Family & Immigration Lawyer
Whether you need help with a divorce or a child custody matter, have a landlord-tenant issue or are trying to obtain citizenship or get a visa, we can help. Let us help guide you on your next step.
It's Never Too Early (or Too Late!) to Reach Out to An Atlanta Immigration Lawyer
No matter where you are in your refugee or asylum process, NOW is the perfect time to consult with an Atlanta immigration lawyer. We can help you understand the process before it has even begun, or help clear up any issues holding up the issuance of your visa, or any step in between. Reach out right away to schedule a consultation.
Contact us to learn more about your legal options and to begin the work of becoming a permanent U.S. resident.
We understand what you are going through and will work diligently with you every step of the way.
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