If you are a foreign national and refugee arriving at the border or already in the United States, you may be able to seek asylum. A refugee is someone unable to go back to his or her home country because of prior persecution or a reasonable fear of future persecution due to religion, race, political opinion, nationality, or membership in a social group. You should consult seasoned Washington, D.C. asylum lawyer Matthew Famiglietti about your situation.What is Asylum?
If you are granted asylum, you will be protected from deportation to your home country. You'll be authorized to work in the United States and apply for a Social Security card. You can petition to bring family to the United States. You may be eligible for certain government programs. Once a year has passed, you can apply for a green card, and four years from the date of becoming a lawful permanent resident, you can apply for citizenship.
It may be appropriate to apply for alternatives to asylum, such as withholding of removal or protection under the United States Convention Against Torture.Applying for Asylum
You can apply for asylum in two ways. Either way, you must be physically present in the country to file your application. First, you can affirmatively petition for asylum through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You should talk to an asylum lawyer based in Washington, D.C. about the application process. Second, if you're already in removal proceedings, you can file an application for asylum with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). In that situation, applying for asylum is a defense against being removed from the United States.Asylum Petition
Application for asylum needs to made within a year of entry into the country, unless you can demonstrate you experienced changed circumstances that materially impacted whether you were eligible for asylum or extraordinary circumstances that resulted in the delay, and that you filed with a reasonable time frame given these circumstances.
You can affirmatively apply for asylum regardless of how you arrived in the United States or your current immigration status. You'll need to apply for asylum by submitting an Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal to USCIS. You can live in the country while the application is pending before USCIS. Discussing your situation with an asylum attorney in Washington, D.C. is a good idea. If asylum isn't approved and you haven't achieved legal immigration status, a Notice to Appear will be issued. The case will be referred to an Immigration Judge at the EOIR. A new hearing will be held and a decision independent of the USCIS's decision will be issued.Expedited Removal Proceedings
If you're put in expedited removal proceedings and you tell an official from Customs and Border Protection that you fear torture, persecution, going back to your country or that you wish to apply for asylum, you should be referred to an asylum officer who can conduct a credible fear screening interview. You'll need to prove to the asylum officer you have a credible fear of persecution or torture. You'll also need to establish who tortured, persecuted, or harmed you or will in the future. You should be able to tell the asylum officer why you're suffering persecution, torture or harm, whether the reason for the persecution is your religion, race, nationality, political opinion or belonging to a specific group. For example, if you were tortured because you are transgender, you should explain this to the officer to establish your credible fear of torture.
If you can establish credible fear, you'll be referred to immigration court to move forward with the asylum application process. However, if the officer decides you don't have a credible fear, you'll be ordered removed. You can appeal that decision by going before an immigration judge who can review the decision. If that judge affirms the asylum officer's finding, you'll be removed from the country. But if the judge overturns the finding, you'll be put in further proceedings.Retain a Washington, D.C. Asylum Attorney
If you need a lawyer in Washington, D.C. to help with an asylum matter, you should talk to Matthew T. Famiglietti about your situation. Mr. Famiglietti is dedicated to serving the legal needs of clients applying for asylum in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. He also represents federal employees. Call the Law Office of Matthew T. Famiglietti at (202) 669-5880 or complete our online form.