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Political Asylum

June 15, 2012

It is an unfortunate reality that there are many places in the world wrought with war, poverty, and oppression. Many immigrants wish to come to the United States to escape such places and begin a new life, filled with work, and education opportunities. While there are many individuals that cross into American borders illegally, there are a number of individuals that face certain danger if turned away or sent back to their native country. Such refugees often seek what is called "Political Asylum".

A foreign immigrant may request political asylum under Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and a rules of international human rights law. Provided specific qualifications are met, all countries that have agreed to the United Nations Conventions Relating to the Status of Refugees must allow entry into their borders.

Article 14: Universal Declaration of Human Rights

• (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

• (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

In addition to Article 14, The United States introduced The Refugee Act in 1981that simply states: Asylum and/or Refugee Status is to be granted to anyone outside of his or her own country of Nationality (or already in the United States) who is "unable or unwilling to return because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion".

US Department of Homeland Security (2011). US Citizenship And Immigration Services.

Qualifying for asylum simply consists of being able to demonstrate that due to Nationality, Race, Religion, Political opinions or Social status; a refugee will be in immediate danger if left in custody of their native government. This can often occur due to regime changes within a 3rd world country, or for any number of political or social reasons.

Benefits of acquiring political asylum

The most important factor in being granted political asylum is ensuring safety, and freedom from the immediate dangers posed by a refugee’s native government. However, once accepted within the United States, the opportunity to receive a green card will follow, which may lead to employment and educational opportunities as well, provided qualifications are met.

How to apply for Political Asylum

Applying for Political Asylum can be a tricky and challenging process with many legal loopholes. Although you may apply on your own, it would be beneficial to enlist the help of a professional Immigration attorney. In order to apply for Asylum, an immigrant must file a Form I-589, (Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal) within a year of arriving in the United States.

Applicants may include children and spouses provided they are within the United States at the time the application is filed, or at any time until a final decision is made. Children must be under the age of 21, unmarried, and included on the application.

If you need assistance

A professional Immigration attorney is recommended when applying for Political Asylum due to the complex process, and will increase your chances of success. If you or a loved one is seeking political asylum within The United States, contact NY Immigration Attorney Susan B. Henner Attorney now at (914) 358-5200 for a consultation or more information.

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