The difference is simply that refugee status is what individuals who are currently outside the US apply for while asylum is what such individuals apply for if they are already within the US. Once you’ve been granted asylum or refugee status, you are legally allowed to stay within the US indefinitely and allowed to work and even apply for a green card status within the first year of their asylum within the US.
One issue many of those seeking asylum or refugee status must face is the fact that not everyone who wants to apply for it actually qualifies. The requirements, in fact, are quite strict and those trying toapply for such status with legal representation inside the US from a qualified attorney who understands asylum and refugee law may find themselves, unfortunately, unable to qualify. To qualify, you must specifically demonstrate:
1.That you cannot ordo not want to return to your home country becauseof the persecution you’ve experienced there or the reasonable suspicion that you will endure it upon your return. 2.The reasons you fear persecution come from one of five grounds that include:
Inclusion in a Social Group
Understanding the Legal Definition of Persecution
Persecution is legally defined as the injuring, punishing, oppressing, or otherwise causing physical orpsychological harm of another individual. US Immigration law does not stipulate specific types ofpersecution that automatically qualify someone for asylum status, but a review of related court caseshas made it clear acts of persecution that typically qualify someone include:
Imprisonment and torture
Firing weapons at non-violent protestors
Being forced or being afraid of being forced to undergo coercive population control(something that has taken place in China, for example)
Barring members of a religion from taking part in politics, etc.
The persecution does not have tobeat the hand of the government of the country the individual isseeking asylum from. Ifitis clear the government will not stop the persecution that is taking place and isallowing itto happen, this may meet asylum or refugee status qualification. As long asitis taking place on grounds of religion, political beliefs, race, association with a certain social group, or nationality, itmay qualify.
Persecution of gender and sexual preference is included in this as that falls under the category ofpersecution because of inclusion in a specific social group. This has been used to grant asylum towomen fleeing genital mutilation and other social practices that amount to persecution. It’s interesting to note, however, that if you are the victim of a criminal element in your home country, this may not qualify. This is one of the reasons you need a well-versed attorney who understands the law and can help you with your petition.
The Five Grounds or Types of Persecution
It’s not hard to understand what the US government means when they say they will grant asylum toanyone who experiences persecution because of their race, religion, or nationality, but the final two categories are not as cut and dry.
Persecution Because of Political Beliefs: This basically means that your political views are those that the government of your home country does not tolerate. This requires demonstrating that your government knows about your opinion and is attempting to persecute you for these beliefs. You do not actually have to hold the beliefs you are being persecuted for. Itis enough that the authorities in your country believe you hold them and are attempting to persecute you based upon that belief (this may be done because of your affiliation with a religion or family group that is said to hold the beliefs in question). If you think you may be able to apply for political asylum within the US, it’s vital you contact an attorney like Yoel Molina right away who understands asylum law and can help give your petition its best chance atsuccess. Persecution Due to Membership in a Specific Social Group: This is the most controversial category and the one that those seeking asylum and refugee status are most in need of legal guidance and representation concerning. In some cases, the social group could be one of the same gender, sexual preference, or one the government sees as a threat, or that share a common characteristic they cannot and should not be expected to change. Ethnic groups, tribes, social classes, family members of dissidents, homosexuals, occupational forces, members offormer political, military, or police forces, and women.
Have More Questions ?
Just because you’ve experienced persecution based upon one of the five grounds based above, there isno guarantee you’llbe able to gain asylum ore refugee status in the US. This is not a simple process, butitisvital if you truly need it.
The Law Office of Yoel Molina, P.A. hasassisted immigrants with the legal complexities ofimmigration and naturalization in the US with a strong focus on understanding the unique challenges such individuals face and the urgency with which they face them. If you are a refugee who has experienced harassment on one of the five grounds and you are seeking political asylum within the US, call our law offices today! Call 305-548-5020 now!