WHAT CONSTITUTES A POLITICAL ASYLUM CASE?
If you fear persecution upon returning to your home country, you may be eligible for political asylum in the United States. In order to qualify for political asylum however, the harm you fear must be based on religion, race, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. The persecution you fear must be either from a part of the government or an individual or group that the government cannot or will not protect you from.
In order to qualify for asylum, persecution must also be something more substantial, such as human rights violations, torture, unlawful or political detention, physical violence, or infliction of serious emotional distress. Sometimes, mere threats of harm can qualify as persecution if other individuals or groups similarly situated to you have experienced documented persecution.
IF YOU CAN PROVE THREAT OF PERSECUTION YOU MAY BE ABLE TO WIN POLITICAL ASYLUM
Political asylum cases are often very difficult to win, especially without an experienced attorney. In a political asylum case you must convince a judge that you have been, or will be, harmed on the basis of religious, race, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a social group, if you return to your home country. An experienced attorney can help. An attorney who has experience with political asylum cases will know what you need to prove your case.
Regardless of your current immigration status, even if you are in the United States unlawfully, you must file an application for political asylum within one year after you have arrived in the United States, unless you can show that there are changed circumstances that have affected your eligibility for asylum.
Remember, that just because you have been placed in removal proceedings DOES NOT MEAN that you are going to be deported from the United States.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN REMOVAL/DEPORTATION LITIGATION?
Removal proceedings are initiated by the government if an individual is either illegally present in the United States, has done something to violate their current non-immigrant visa or in cases of legal permanent residents, has done something to violate the terms of the residency, such as a conviction for a serious crime or multiple crimes.
Removal proceedings begin when government issues a Notice to Appear (NTA). The NTA is presented to an Immigration Judge who must then decide whether to order you removed from the United States or allow you to remain. There are numerous ways to be placed in removal proceedings but the most common are referral from an asylum officer, local law enforcement contacts Immigration (ICE) or filing an application with Immigration that you are not qualified to receive. Often times, it can happen randomly if Customs and Border Patrol (CPB) or ICE comes across you at a bus station or in an area frequented by illegal aliens.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS.
Always request a hearing before the Immigration Judge. In many instances, ICE or CPB will try to convince you to sign a voluntary removal order. If you sign the order, you have given up your rights to see a Judge. ICE or CPB may try to fool you into signing a voluntary return by telling you that you will sit in jail for many months. This is not always true. Most individuals that go before the Immigration Judge can be and are granted a bond. It is only in situations where the individual has committed a particularly serious crime or an individual has no substantial local community ties that bond is not granted.
HIRE AN IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY RIGHT AWAY.
An Immigration Attorney can help reduce your bond or even have you released on your own recognizance. An experienced immigration attorney will also know what forms of relief you are eligible for which may allow you to remain in the US or even obtain permanent residency.