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San Diego Asylum Lawyer

How Asylum Can Prevent Deportation

Immigrants can seek asylum when they are afraid to return to their own country because of past persecution or if they demonstrate a well-founded fear of future persecution. An individual can ask for asylum at the point of entry to the United States or anywhere within the United States, but they must request it within the first year of entering the U.S. A person on asylum can apply to become a permanent resident after one year of being on asylum status and then apply for U.S. citizen four years later.

To be eligible and receive asylum the person will need to show that the persecution they suffered in the past or will most likely suffer in the future is based on one or more of the five grounds shown below:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality or ethnicity
  • Membership in a particular social group
  • Political opinion

Call (619) 332-1703 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced asylum attorney in San Diego at Rodriguez Law Firm.

The Asylum Application Process

There are two application processes available for the asylum applicant. If the applicant is not in removal proceedings, they will file what is referred to as an Affirmative Asylum application with the appropriate USCIS office. If the person is in removal proceedings and asks for asylum relief, they will file what is referred to as a Defensive Asylum application. Whichever process is taken, the person will need to file the I-589 application and supporting documentation. The applicant can include their spouse and children under 21 years of age on their application, called derivatives.

Under the Child Status Protection Act, your child will remain eligible for asylum, as a derivative family member, even if he or she turned 21. Your child must have been unmarried and under 21 years of age on the date that you filed your I-589 application. The “filing date” is the date your application was received by USCIS or filed with the court.

When am I Not Eligible for Asylum?

A person is not eligible for asylum if any of the following circumstances apply:

  • The asylum applicant ordered, assisted, incited, or participated in the persecution of another on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion
  • They were convicted for an aggravated felony
  • Reasons exist to believe that the applicant committed a serious nonpolitical crime outside the U.S.
  • The applicant may be a threat to national security
  • The applicant was firmly resettled in another country prior to arriving in the U.S.

Withholding of Removal

Withholding of removal, like asylum, is available to the alien that is in the United States and in removal proceedings and believes they would be persecuted or tortured if forced to return to their home country. Like asylum, the alien must show with credible evidence that he or she has been persecuted or it is more-likely-than-not that they would be persecuted or tortured on account of their political opinion, race, religion, nationality, or for being in a particular social group.

Withholding of removal is different from asylum in a few important ways. For example, withholding does not require the alien to file an application within the first year of entering the United States while asylum does. Asylum requires a showing of having “credible fear” while withholding requires a showing that there is a “reasonable possibility” of being persecuted or tortured if the person returns to their home country. An alien granted withholding of removal may be allowed to stay in the United States or another safe country while a person with asylum will not only be able to remain in the United States but ultimately be able to receive a green card and a path to citizenship.

The Interview by an Asylum Officer

If an alien expresses a fear of returning to their home country, they will be referred to an asylum officer for an interview. This is supposed to happen within 10 days but can be delayed by a few weeks. The alien has a right to ask for an interpreter and an immigration attorney during the interview and present evidence of past persecution or the likelihood of future persecution or torture. The asylum officer is required to conduct the interview in a non-adversarial manner in an effort to determine if the facts or circumstances expressed by the alien establishes the requisite standard of “reasonable fear.”

At the end of the interview, the alien’s attorney can correct any errors made by the alien and summarize the evidence and facts given during the interview that helps the alien prove he or she has a reasonable fear of being persecuted or tortured on account of their political opinion, race, religion, nationality, or for being in a particular social group.

The Process After the Interview

If there was a positive showing of reasonable fear, meaning if the officer believed the alien presented a reasonable fear of being persecuted or torture during the interview, then the case will be referred to the court and the alien will be able to present their case before the immigration judge. On the other hand, if the officer felt the alien does not have a reasonable fear of being persecuted or tortured in their country the alien has a right to go before the court and ask an immigration judge to review the officer’s decision. If the judge, after reviewing the officer’s negative decision, determines there is a reasonable fear of persecution or torture then the alien will be able to present their case before a judge in a merits hearing.

Work with an Experienced San Diego Asylum Lawyer

For more information about asylum and how it can help you get a green card, call us today at (619) 332-1703 and talk to an experienced asylum lawyer. Our office will conduct the necessary investigation, case preparation, and present the evidence needed to fight to increase your chances of winning your asylum case.

Our firm offers an initial consultation, at no charge, to persons looking for a lawyer so that they can fight their withholding of removal case. We know that fighting and winning your case is very important to you and your family. We have the experience and knowledge to help you present the strongest evidence possible so that you can increase the chances of not being separated from your family.

Schedule your free consultation with our knowledgeable asylum lawyer today by calling (619) 332-1703 or contacting us online.

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Past Clients Share Their Experience
  • This process took over a year because of the court's backlog but through it, all John stayed positive, kept us on track, and my family and I couldn't be more grateful and thankful for all of his hard work.

    - Kristen S.
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    John R. Rodriguez

    Founding Attorney

    John R. Rodriguez is a San Diego skilled trial lawyer with experience that will make a difference in your criminal or immigration case. His combined experience as a trial lawyer, former police officer, and as a private investigator has culminated into a successful legal career with a proven track record that his clients can rely on. My personal commitment: I grew up in Houston where hard work, doing my best, and fighting for what is right were important values in the Latino community. It is my ...
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