Applying for asylum becomes a bit more complex when you are already facing deportation proceedings. Asylum may be your best removal defense when immigration authorities are trying to eject you from the US but you fear returning to your home country.
The grounds for receiving asylum goes beyond just ordinary fear of returning to your country—you must establish unwillingness to return due to having faced persecution in the past or well-founded fear of being persecuted upon return on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
Asylum applicants bear the burden of proof in establishing that they meet this definition of a “refugee” under the Immigration Nationality Act. Applicants must also show that it is more likely than not that they will face persecution based on the above grounds if they are deported.
If you are already facing removal proceedings, your application for asylum should be brought straight to the immigration judge upon your court hearing. Remember, this is a complex process so retain an immigration lawyer to assist in your asylum defense.
Depending on the crime committed, your immigration lawyer might seek to obtain withholding of removal for your case if you are barred from obtaining asylum. However, the standard for granting withholding of removal are even greater than asylum as you must prove the probability of death or persecution if deported.
Upon your hearing, you will have the opportunity to tell the judge your story on why you fear returning to your home country. Your lawyer will ask you question to guide you along the way.
Your memory of past events and traumatic situations will become crucial to your asylum defense. It is likely that the immigration judge and the opposing counsel will question you too in order to gain as much information as possible. Remember to stay calm and give honest answers as any inconsistent responses may negatively affect the outcome of your case.
While asylum hearings may be temporarily uncomfortable, this is your chance to avoid returning to permanent distress. Tell the judge your complete story, and by the end of the hearing, you will receive his decision on whether your asylum application has been granted or denied.
Upon approval, you will be mailed additional forms stating your asylee status and right to maintain within the country.