asylum attorney


Legal Guidance & Counsel for Those Seeking Asylum in the U.S.

For as long as the United States has been a unified force for good in the world, people have sought asylum within its borders. In fact, as the inscription known as “The New Colossus” remarks as it shines at the base of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

This inscription and the promise of freedom have made America a beacon for asylum-seekers and refugees across the planet, but unfortunately, the process of seeking asylum in the United States is often fraught with challenges. This is why working with an asylum attorney is often vital to receiving legal counsel and guidance that can help you navigate the complexities of U.S. immigration law.

What is Asylum?

Asylum is a form of protection that is granted by a country to individuals who flee from other countries out of genuine fear of persecution. Seeking asylum in the United States is a process. You must be present in the country and fill out and file Form I-589 with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in order to be considered for asylum status.

Being granted asylum status upon receiving approval does not grant citizenship. Instead, asylum status confers upon asylees many of the same rights as citizens, but you must still go through the naturalization process to become a legal citizen of the U.S. Despite this, asylees can often live normal lives while in the United States granted they follow the law and complete any legal requirements that come along with asylum status.

Types of Asylum

There are two main types of asylum granted in the United States. These include:.


Affirmative asylum is a type of asylum that is sought when someone is attempting to gain entry into the United States. This person is not a party to any removal proceedings and believes they would be under threat of persecution if they returned to their country of origin.


Defensive asylum is a type of asylum that is being sought after a person is a party to removal proceedings, also known as deportation. This is used when the government of the United States has enacted legal proceedings to have someone deported and that person believes they should be granted asylum due to the threat of persecution in their home country.

What is the difference between refugee status and asylum status?

Asylum status is the status given to individuals who are seeking asylum but are already in the United States. Until asylum has been granted legally, the individual may be considered a refugee while outside of the United States.

Refugee status is used when someone outside of the United States is seeking asylum status within the United States. A refugee can be located anywhere on Earth, but they are generally not located in their home countries.

Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, legally, they are different. Your asylum lawyer can clarify your status and help you understand where your designation falls based on where you are in the process of seeking asylum in the United States.

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Eligibility Criteria for Asylum in the United States

According to USCIS, asylum-seekers must fulfill certain requirements in order to be eligible for asylum. These criteria include:

  • You are in the United States or at a port of entry
  • Less than one year has passed since you entered the country
  • A reasonable fear of persecution exists for you to stay in or return to your place of origin
  • You experience an extraordinary circumstance, including serious mental disability or legal disability

In the case of a refugee seeking asylum, you will still need to comply with the above requirements. Your attorney can speak with you to walk you through the specifics of seeking asylum as a refugee outside of the United States.

A Note About Political Persecution

Political persecution takes place when a government seeks to limit a person’s ability to experience freedom as a result of political or ideological differences. When someone is the victim of political persecution, their natural and human rights may be limited, including the right to vote, access public works or seek employment.

You must be able to demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution upon returning to your country of origin in order to obtain asylum status in the United States based on political persecution. Your attorney can assist you in providing evidence of this to support your case.

Steps Involved in Seeking Asylum with the Help of an Attorney

When you’re ready to begin the process of applying for asylum in the United States, your attorney can help you decide which documentation will best represent your situation in front of USCIS officials and any other immigration officials involved in your application review.

Below are some of the items that you will need to be prepared for when submitting an application for asylum:

Asylum Application Process in the United States

The process of seeking asylum in the United States begins with filling out and filing Form I-589 with USCIS. An asylum attorney can make this process easier.

Filing Procedures

Once your application has been filed, your attorney will let you know what to expect next. The wait time for application review varies based on the number of applications currently in process.

Required Documentation

Below are some of the required or preferable documents you will need to file with your application. An asylum lawyer can help you figure out which documents will best support your case:

  • Photo ID
  • Any travel documents, including your passport
  • Written declaration of your intent to seek asylum status
  • Record of any current or prior dealings with USCIS
  • Any evidence you can provide detailing the persecution you have faced or will face in your country of origin

Credible Fear Interview

You will also need to complete a credible fear interview. During this interview, a USCIS representative will ask you to explain your current situation and ask questions about your credible fear of persecution in your country of origin. Your asylum lawyer can be with you during this interview, and this can be done by telephone if needed.

Asylum Denials and Appeals

If your application for asylum is denied, you may be able to appeal the ruling. To do this, you’re encouraged to work with an attorney who is familiar with asylum laws in the United States.

Your attorney can provide you with specific details about your options, but you will likely need to appear in front of an immigration judge and may be subject to a removal action in the meantime. If these things happen, your attorney will be able to offer counsel to help you make the right legal decisions for your needs.

Challenges Faced by Asylum Seekers in the United States

There’s no question that U.S. immigration laws are complex, and this can make it difficult to navigate the asylum process on your own. This is also why many people seeking asylum in the United States look for an asylum attorney for assistance.

In addition to the legal complexities of seeking asylum in the United States, language barriers can be tough to overcome. Asylum-seekers may also face difficulties finding employment, housing and access to other essentials in life. Your attorney and local civic groups may have leads on resources to help overcome these challenges while your application is under review.

Detention, Expedited Removal and Deportation of Asylum Seekers

While you are seeking asylum, there are things that you can do to hinder your case. Committing a crime, for instance, may significantly impact your chances of receiving eventual asylum status. Your asylum attorney can provide you with a list of actions that may lead to detention, expedited removal or deportation.

In some cases, including those involving expedited removal, asylum-seekers become very limited in their abilities to appeal removal decisions. If any of these actions are taken, your attorney can also provide you with options to ensure your rights as granted by immigration law in the United States are upheld.

Why is Legal Representation Crucial in Asylum Cases?

Legal representation in asylum cases is vital because those seeking asylum status are often overwhelmed. Perhaps you are someone who has just escaped a volatile situation in another country, or perhaps you are dealing with lifestyle adjustments upon arriving in the United States.

These extrajudicial factors can make it difficult to focus on what needs to be done in order to ensure you receive fair treatment under the law. An attorney can focus on the legal aspects of your case while you focus on taking care of the necessities of life.

Effective Advocacy and Support for Asylum Seekers in the United States

Gallardo Immigration Law provides legal services to individuals and families seeking asylum in the United States. You can learn more about working with our asylum attorneys by scheduling a consultation by phone. You can also reach our law offices online through our contact page to schedule your confidential consultation.

Seek Legal Representation

An attorney specializing in asylum cases can provide invaluable guidance, navigate complex legal procedures, and maximize your chances of a successful asylum claim.


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