Louisiana Immigration Law Firm

Ashley Dees LLC is now Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. Please visit www.bal.com for more information.

When an Undocumented Immigrant is Eligible for Asylum or Refugee Status

The Trump Administration’s attempts to pass an “immigration ban” executive order have put much of the nation’s attention on its borders and the people wanting to cross them. One focus of the executive order was restricting or otherwise banning refugees from certain countries and preventing asylum status to be granted to others. What exactly is asylum and refugee status, though? Are there any measurable differences?

Both asylum status and refugee status are meant to grant someone entrance into the United States when returning to their own home country would likely put them in peril. The key difference between asylum and refugee statuses is really only where the individual applies for the status. Someone who is giving asylum has already entered the U.S. or is situated at an international border, and a refugee is anywhere else when filing.

Who Can Get Asylum or Refugee Status?

The United States will not provide asylum or refugee status to just anyone who leaves their country in fear of their safety. This may be especially true with recent crackdowns from the Trump Administration. To be granted either of these statuses, an individual must have already been persecuted in their home country and have good reason to believe persecution will happen again if they return. Furthermore, the persecution that occurred must have been based on their race, religion, nationality, social status, or political alignment.

Persecution is not a word most people would normally use in day-to-day context, but it shows up frequently in the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations and paperwork regarding asylum and refugee statuses. Despite its regular use by the USCIS, though, the definition is left somewhat vague.

Through established case law and USCIS procedures, it can be said that prosecution occurs if:

  • Genocide was attempted by a controlling party
  • Firearms were discharged at protestors
  • Imprisonment occurred without reason or trial
  • Religious members were excluded from political decisions
  • Threats of violence or aggression generally pervaded

Legal Counsel to Guide You Through This Trying Time

Applying for asylum or refugee status will likely be more difficult than ever due to the uncertain future of the United States’ immigration laws. If you need to get away from a home country that is not safe for you or your family, let Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP and our Lake Charles immigration attorneys help you file for the right status. We genuinely want to see your family safe and sound again.

Contact our law firm at any time for the compassionate and knowledgeable legal advocacy you need.