Asylum can be done either affirmatively or defensively. An affirmative asylum application is filed by someone directly with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service because they are not in removal proceedings. A defensive asylum application is filed with an immigration judge when someone is in removal proceedings.
In general, asylum is granted to someone who can demonstrate a well founded fear of persecution on account of one of the following grounds: (1) political opinion; (2) nationality; (3) race; (4) religion; or (5) social group.
There is a requirement that asylum be applied for within one year of arriving in the United States. Under certain circumstances, the deadline can be extended if you have a good excuse for not filing or were in status when you arrived in the United States.
An application for asylum can be denied if: (1) you have criminal history; (2) you have firmly resettled in another country; or (3) there is somewhere in your country where you could live and be safe.
If you are granted asylum, you cannot be deported to any country and you can apply for a green card one year after being granted asylum.
About Withholding of Removal
Withholding of removal is very similar to asylum. In general, withholding of removal is granted to someone who can demonstrate a clear probability of persecution on account of one of the following grounds: (1) political opinion; (2) nationality; (3) race; (4) religion; or (5) social group. There is no time limit for filing for withholding of removal. In order to win a withholding of removal claim, you must demonstrate a higher probability that you will be persecuted than in an asylum case. Someone who is granted withholding cannot apply for a green card. Withholding of removal is country specific, so that if there is a third country that you can be deported to where you will not be harmed, you can be deported to that safe country.
About the Convention Against Torture
Relief under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”) is granted to individuals that can demonstrate that it is more likely than not that they will be tortured, if returned to their country.
There is no time limit for applying for CAT relief. Like withholding of removal, CAT relief is country specific and it does not entitle you to apply for a green card.
Why You Should Hire Me for Your Case Involving Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and the Convention Against Torture
I have experience with both affirmative and defensive asylum applications.
I have litigated numerous asylum, withholding and CAT claims in immigration court.
When I was an adjunct professor at the Fordham University School of Law’s Immigrant Rights and Access to Justice Clinic, all of my cases involved affirmative asylum applications.
If you look at my successful cases page, Romero v. Mukasey and Zhong Guo Liu v. Gonzales, were both asylum cases.
Also listed on my successful cases page is Khouzam v. Ashcroft. The Khouzam case is an important precedent decision involving CAT that is regularly cited by courts in deciding CAT cases.
I have taught a continuing legal education class involving asylum, withholding of removal and the CAT.