Legal Help For Asylum Seekers
Are you in the United States and are afraid to go back to your country? Have you been harmed in your country by the government or by forces the government can’t or won’t control? Have you been hurt or threatened by your family, tribe or elders? If so, you may be eligible to apply for asylum protection to remain in the United States.
The laws concerning what constitutes harm, what activity or character constitutes political opinion, and how you define or characterize a particular social group are complex. Credibility is an essential component of any asylum case. A well-prepared and well-documented case has the best chance of a positive outcome, and that is why you should consider working with a San Jose asylum lawyer who is experienced with these specific cases.
To learn more about asylum and how to apply, call 408-292-7995. We have decades of immigration law experience, and we are prepared to fight for your safety.
Asylum can be a way to remain in the United States if you are afraid to return to or stay in your country due to political violence, threats, persecution, or domestic abuse. An asylum lawyer can help you file for asylum status in the U.S. and make sure your case has the best chance of being approved.
To file for asylum status or apply for a green card after having been an asylee in the U.S., call Yemi Getachew Immigration Law Office P.C. today. You can also schedule a consultation by using our easy online contact form.
Experienced, Passionate Counsel In Asylum Proceedings
Our San Jose lawyers have won hundreds of asylum cases over the years. If you meet certain qualifications, we can also help you overcome the one-year bar to filing asylum.
What sets us apart is the amount of time we take to understand you and your experience. We know that this may be the very first time you are able to share your experience in a truly safe environment. We know how to listen carefully and compassionately to your story to help prepare your application and declaration. Our mission is to make sure the judge or asylum officer can understand and appreciate what you have gone through and what it is that you fear.
We Can Offer Skilled Counsel Related To The Following Asylum Proceedings
- Asylum I-589
- Withholding of removal
- Relief under Article III of the Convention against Torture
In representing clients, we also explain the asylum interview process, the role and function of interpreters, the setting of immigration court hearings, and keys to testifying in a way that empowers the client. For over two decades, the Yemi Getachew Immigration Law Office, P.C., has represented political activists, journalists, domestic violence survivors, women forced into harmful cultural practices such as female genital mutilation and early marriage, individuals persecuted because of their religious beliefs and practices, and many, many more clients. Yemi is also the former asylum office liaison for the American Immigration Lawyers Association Santa Clara Valley Chapter.
What Is Asylum?
Asylum is protection in the United States from dangers in your own country. People seeking asylum status in the U.S. may have fear of persecution in their country of origin. Persecution may occur because of:
- Sexual orientation
- Political beliefs
- Nationality or belonging to a group of people with a common identity
Persecution can entail imprisonment, torture, rape, marginalization, and death.
Are You Eligible for Asylum?
To be eligible for asylum in the United States, you must be able to prove two things:
- You cannot return to your country of origin due to a well-founded fear of past or future persecution.
- Persecution of you is because of your religion, race, political opinions, nationality, or membership in a social group.
Examples of social groups include but are not limited to families, clans, tribes, gays and lesbians, and women facing domestic abuse, women of particular ethnic group who have been subjected to or fears female genital mutilation (FGM), or a lack of ability to enjoy fundamental rights. Many women applying for asylum in the U.S. have a fear of honor killings and forced marriages.
It should be noted that economic hardship, without any of the criteria listed above, by itself is not enough of a reason to be granted asylum in the U.S.
What Is the Process for Filing for Asylum?
There are two pathways to obtain asylum status in the United States.
If you are already in the United States, usually with a valid visa or visa overstay, and seeking asylum, affirmative asylum is the path you will use. You use USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) form I-589 for affirmative asylum. You must apply for asylum within one year of arriving in the U.S, unless you meet one of the exceptions to the one year bar.
The timeline after filing your asylum petition can be months or even years. Some special cases and often those involving children get priority attention. Typically, after several months, you will be contacted for a USCIS interview. If the officer from USCIS is persuaded that you are indeed eligible for asylum, it will be granted. Otherwise, you may be referred to the court system, making it essential to retain an asylum attorney if you haven’t already.
If you entered the United States at the border with no valid visa seeking asylum, or if you are unlawfully present in the U.S. and was picked up by ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement), defensive asylum is the path you must use to apply for asylum in immigration court.
Defensive asylum may involve being detained or having deportation or removal proceedings started against you, so it’s vital you work with an experienced political asylum lawyer or one who is well-versed in your area of persecution in this type of scenario. This method of applying for asylum does not involve USCIS and instead goes directly to the courts.
What Happens If You Are Granted Asylum?
If you are able to obtain asylum in the United States, eligible unmarried children under 21 or a spouse included in your application may also remain in the country. You will all be permitted to work so that you can provide for yourself while you are here.
Can You Apply for a Green Card After Being Granted Asylum?
If you decide to remain in the United States long term as a permanent resident, you may later apply for a green card after being physically present in the U.S. on asylum status for at least one year. A green card is the next step you must take if you wish to ultimately become a naturalized citizen of the U.S. To obtain permanent resident status and a green card, you would use the adjustment of status method.
Contact our firm today at 408-292-7995 to learn more. Even when a client does not qualify for asylum, he or she may be eligible for withholding of removal or relief under Article III of the Convention against Torture.
How Does an Asylum Lawyer Help with Immigration?
As mentioned above, it’s absolutely essential to work with an asylum lawyer when seeking protection in the United States, especially if you are forced to use the defensive asylum pathway. There are many ways an asylum attorney can assist you and improve the likelihood that asylum will be granted:
- Ensuring all your paperwork is completed properly and any documentation is in order
- Helping to prepare you for your USCIS interview and representing you at the interview
- Assisting with building a compelling case for asylum without embellishing your story but making sure any real persecution is addressed
- Going to court with you for defensive asylum or affirmative asylum that USCIS refers to the court system
- Working to prevent deportation or removal while your defensive asylum case is still being processed
We understand every asylum case is unique, and we have years of experience representing clients with a variety of needs for protection, including women seeking refuge from violence and abuse. Our legal team has a great track record of success, and our clients have told us that their asylum lawyer fees were worth it in the end to stay in the United States.
Asylum cases that don’t involve legal representation, particularly defensive asylum cases, have a very low rate of approval. Don’t risk your and your family’s safety by trying to obtain asylum on your own. Call Yemi Getachew Immigration Law Office P.C. at 408-292-7995 today or get in touch online to schedule your consultation right away.