Individuals are eligible to apply for asylum, if the individual can prove that past persecution occurred or future persecution will occur on the basis of race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group AND the government is unwilling or unable to protect the individual. Individuals must apply for asylum within one year of entry into the United States.
If the individual is not in removal proceedings (Immigration Court), the asylum application should be filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If denied or there is no decision after an interview with an asylum officer, the application will be referred to Immigration Court, where the individual can have a second opportunity to prove their case for asylum.
If the individual was detained entering the United States and placed in removal proceedings, a defensive asylum application can be filed with the Immigration Court. There is one exception – Unaccompanied Children (UAC) who entered the United States without parents. In these cases, the UAC minor can apply with the USCIS asylum office and have trained asylum officers interview the child applying for asylum.
Asylum cases are incredibly complex and difficult. Immigration Judges at the Charlotte Immigration Court routinely deny asylum cases. One Immigration Judge denies nearly 90 percent of asylum applications.
It is important to consult with an attorney regarding your eligibility for asylum and representation before USCIS or in Immigration Court.