Every year thousands of people come to the U.S. seeking refuge from their home countries due to an array of different difficult and in many cases life-threatening situations. They come to our great nation seeking asylum because they know of the great hope and opportunity they have of achieving freedom and safety in the U.S. Here at Colombo & Hurd, our experienced Tampa asylum lawyers are ready to assist foreign nationals in need through the asylum process in an effort to ensure their stories are heard and to increase the chances of an approval by the best means possible.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR ASYLUM?
Anybody from any country can apply for asylum as long as they can prove to immigration or an immigration judge that they have or will be persecuted if returned to their home country by the government or a group the government cannot control or ignores based on their political opinion, membership in a particular social group, race, religion or nationality. While easily defined, the definition’s interpretation varies drastically throughout the United States, which it is why it is important that a person be represented by an experienced lawyer such as our Tampa asylum lawyers at Colombo & Hurd to warrant that the person’s application is sufficiently supported by the facts and documentation necessary to be successful.
WHERE ARE ASYLUM CASES PROCESSED?
Now, the interesting thing about asylum cases is that there generally two types of asylum and how they are processed is different.
- Affirmative Asylum is when a person files their asylum application with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within the first year of the person’s last arrival to the U.S. At that point, within approximately a month or so the person will receive a receipt notice and may be scheduled for biometrics/fingerprinting. Under the current Trump administration, asylum cases have been prioritized beginning with the most recent cases filed. Thus, a person who files there application today could see their case be adjudicated and called for an interview within 6 months. The asylum interview will generally take place at the Miami Asylum Office. After a thorough interview, the applicant/s may be instructed to return for their decision in person or they may be mailed the decision. If positive, they are asylees from the date of the decision. If the case is denied one of two scenarios may occur depending on the applicant’s status at the time denial.
- If the applicant’s authorized period of stay has not expired by the time a decision is made then the case will be deemed finalized and denied, which means that the person/s have to leave the U.S. by the date authorized. The decision cannot be appealed.
- If the applicant’s authorized period of stay has expired by the time a decision is made then the case will be referred to an immigration judge as the immigration court now has jurisdiction over the case.
- Defensive Asylum in Removal/Deportation Proceedings is the second form of asylum that typically arises out of an affirmative asylum that was referred to an immigration judge or as a defense in general before the immigration court to prevent deportation/removal. In a defensive asylum case the person will have an opportunity to present his/her case before an immigration case to see if it meets the legal criteria for a grant of asylum.
THINGS TO KNOW IN PUTTING TOGETHER A SUCCESSFUL ASYLUM CASE:
A positive outcome in an asylum case is all in the details. It is important that a person who is applying for asylum make note of all the pertinent details underlying their persecution and or fear of returning to their home country. When talking with an asylum immigration lawyer do not leave out any details as it could be the difference between an approval and denial. In an asylum case credibility is key. You only have one opportunity to be consistent with what is in your application and what you testify to either at your interview or court. Lastly, while corroborating documentation is not required for an approval for some aspects of an asylum claim, it is required or expected where it is corroborating documentation that can be reasonably obtained. Thus, an applicant must take steps to document their case where needed.
The last and most crucial component in putting together a successful asylum case: an experienced asylum immigration lawyer. Laws and policies are changing all the time. Asylum law is controlled primarily through court decisions that are in constant unrest. Accordingly, a person needs an experienced asylum immigration lawyer such as the ones available at Colombo & Hurd to ensure the person is up to date on the law and has all the necessary evidence and preparation for a prosperous case. Contact our Tampa office today at (813) 444-1114 to schedule a confidential consultation, or to learn more about how we can help you.