Political Asylum

INTRODUCTION

Any non-citizen can file for asylum, withholding and protection under the Convention Against Torture. If you are not in removal proceedings, you can affirmatively apply for asylum with USCIS. If you are in removal proceedings, it is called a defensive asylum application.

Certain crimes can make you ineligible for asylum and withholding of removal. However, no matter what, everyone and anyone can apply for protection under the Convention Against Torture, which is a treaty that the United States signed stating that the government would not deport anyone who would be subject to torture upon return to his or her home country.

Asylum, Withholding of removal, and protections under the Convention Against Torture

If you have been suffered past persecution in your home country or country of last habitual residence, or because you have a well-founded fear of future persecution in your home country or country of last habitual residence and such persecution is based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group, you may be eligible for asylum and/or withholding of removal. Persecution can take many forms of abuse, but typically encompasses torture, physical abuse, imprisonment, beatings, etc.

You must apply for asylum within one year of your entry into the United States. There are exceptions, but they are very limited. If you did not apply for asylum within the one year deadline, you can still apply for withholding of removal and/or CAT protection.

If you will be subject to torture upon return to your home country, you can seek protection under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. For refugees and asylum seekers, this is a relief of last resort, but not insignificant.

With asylum, you can eventually get a green card. Withholding and CAT protection will permit you to remain in the United States and get a work authorization, but you cannot get any further benefits.

Gang based Asylum

Gang based asylum, asylum based on persecution by transnational violent street gangs, is very difficult to get. However, the firm specializes is gang-based asylum claims. Because each case is different, a consultation is necessary to determine whether you have a meritorious asylum claim.

Recent Case Results

June 6, 2017 – Citizen of El Salvador’s asylum case is remanded from the Fourth Circuit

June 6, 2017 – Citizen of El Salvador’s asylum case is remanded from the Fourth Circuit

Facts: In August 2014, a citizen of El Salvador came to the firm seeking help with his asylum case in the Baltimore Immigration Court.

The Firm’s Representation: The firm believed that our client had a good claim of asylum based on a fear of persecution on account of an imputed political opinion where the persecutor was motivated by mixed motives of local politics and financial gain. Unfortunately, the Immigration Judge denied our client’s asylum application in November 2015. The firm advised our client to continue to fight for his rights and the Immigration Judge’s decision was appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Unfortunately, in November of 2016, the Board of Immigration Appeals denied our client’s asylum claim once again. Down but not done, the firm convinced our client to file a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Outcome: On June 6, 2017, the Fourth Circuit remanded our client’s case back to the Board of Immigration Appeals to re-consider our client’s direct appeal in light of the Fourth’s Circuit line of mixed-motive asylum case law.

Comments: The firm has won many cases on appeal. It is often difficult to continue with your case in the face of repeated setbacks. But, the firm prides itself on fighting for our clients’ rights, no matter how long and how far, when we believe in merits of our clients’ cases.

February 22, 2016 – El Salvadoran refugees of gang violence granted asylum

February 22, 2016 – El Salvadoran refugees of gang violence granted asylum

Facts: In 2013, a citizen of El Salvador and her child and her brother came to the firm seeking help.

The Firm’s Representation: Our client’s partner testified against gang members at a murder trial in El Salvador. Prior to the trial, the gang members tried to intimidate the witness by threatening the witness’ girlfriend (our client), and her child and her brother. The El Salvador police could not protect our client or her family and as a result they fled El Salvador and came to the United States looking for safe refuge. In jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which includes the Baltimore Immigration Court, family members who have been threatened or harmed merely because of their social status as family members are an asylum-based protected group. Here, our client and her child and her brother were threatened by gangs for no other reason than their familial relationship to the witness (our client’s partner), which is a recognized social group under Fourth Circuit case law.

Outcome: On February 22, 2016, our client, her son, and her brother were all granted asylum protection in the Baltimore Immigration Court.

March 11, 2013 – Citizen of Sierra Leone wins CAT protection based on sexual orientation despite three “aggravated felony” convictions

March 11, 2013 – Citizen of Sierra Leone wins CAT protection based on sexual orientation despite three “aggravated felony” convictions

Facts: A citizen of Sierra Leone was placed in removal proceedings and charged as an “aggravated felon.” His family came to the firm for help.

The Firm’s Representation: The firm took our client’s case and discovered that our client had a viable claim under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The firm asserted that our client would be harmed in his home country of Sierra Leone based on his sexual orientation.

Outcome: Based on the firm’s extensive documentation and testimony from an country conditions expert, on March 11, 2013, the Immigration Judge granted our client CAT protection. Our client is awaiting a decision by DHS whether to appeal the case to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

November 6, 2012 – Citizen of El Salvador receives CAT protection despite conviciton for “aggravated felony,” released after nearly two years of ICE detention

November 6, 2012 – Citizen of El Salvador receives CAT protection despite conviciton for “aggravated felony,” released after nearly two years of ICE detention

Facts: A citizen of El Salvador was placed in removal proceedings and charged as an “aggravated felon.” His family came to the firm for help.

The Firm’s Representation: The firm took our client’s case and discovered that our client had a viable claim under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The firm asserted that our client would be harmed by the violent street gangs in El Salvador if he was deported.

Outcome: Based on the firm’s extensive documentation and testimony from an expert, on August 15, 2012, the Immigration Judge granted our client CAT protection. The decision was appealed by ICE. The firm is continuing our client’s representation in the Board of Immigration Appeals.

On November 6, 2012, ICE withdrew its appeal in the Board of Immigration Appeals and released our client from ICE detention. He had been in ICE detention for nearly two years. Later that day, our client called the firm from his mom’s house to tell us how grateful he was for our help, then he sat down to his first home cooked meal in over two years.

September 17, 2012 – Citizen of Jamaica receives CAT protection despite “aggravated felony” conviciton

September 17, 2012 – Citizen of Jamaica receives CAT protection despite “aggravated felony” conviciton

Facts: A citizen of Jamaica was placed in removal proceedings and charged as an “aggravated felon.” His family came to the firm for help.

The Firm’s Representation: The firm took our client’s case and discovered that our client had a viable claim under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The firm asserted that our client would be harmed by transnational drug trafficking organizations in Jamaica if he was deported.

Outcome: Based on the firm’s extensive documentation and testimony from an expert, on September 17, 2012 the Immigration Judge granted our client CAT protection. The decision is being appealed by ICE. The firm is continuing our client’s representation in the Board of Immigration Appeals.

June 6, 2011 – Citizen of Kyrgyzstan received asylum after the firm won a remand in the Board of Immigration Appeals

June 6, 2011 – Citizen of Kyrgyzstan received asylum after the firm won a remand in the Board of Immigration Appeals

Facts: A citizen of Kyrgyzstan applied for asylum in the United States based on religious persecution in his home county. Unfortunately, he was denied asylum. He retained an attorney to represent him before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). His appeal was denied. He was unsatisfied with his attorney and asked the firm for help with his case.

The Firm’s Representation: The firm took our client’s case and immediately filed a petition for review in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Simultaneously, the firm filed a motion to reconsider with the BIA. The firm determined that our client’s previous attorney missed a crucial legal argument in the direct appeal to the BIA.

Outcome: On November 10, 2009, the BIA granted the motion to reconsider and remanded the proceedings back to the immigration court. On June 6, 2011, with the assistance of the firm, our client was granted asylum.

April 21, 2010 – Citizen of Togo receives asylum based on persecution on account of his political opinion

April 21, 2010 – Citizen of Togo receives asylum based on persecution on account of his political opinion

Facts: A citizen of Togo came to the United States with nothing more than the shirt on his back. He had no visa and no passport. When he arrived at Dulles Airport, he claimed asylum, but immigration authorities arrested him. He spent three months in jail before his case was referred to the firm.

The firm’s representation: The firm took our client’s case and immediately filed for humanitarian parole from incarceration. Three months later, our client was released from ICE incarceration. The firm then started to build a case for asylum. The country of Togo is not always tolerant of political dissent. Later, the firm obtained a work permit for our client.

Case status: On April 21, 2010, our client was granted asylum.