Asylum, WOR and CAT

You may be entitled to remain in the United States if you can show that your government or another group in your home country would or already have persecuted you based on your race, national origin, religion, political opinion, or even because of your falling into a category in asylum law known as “membership in a particular social group”.

Here are some examples of persons that have received asylum in the past:

  • Those that actively spoke out against their governments and who were persecuted as a result
  • Those that have refused to join a rebel group during civil strife
  • A woman who was sexually abused because a sergeant thought she supported the rebels
  • Victims of severe domestic violence in their home countries
  • Tribal members who are subjected to painful or embarrassing “rites of passage” after   attaining a certain age
  • Homosexuals who were persecuted for their sexual orientation
  • Those who opposed government family planning policies, such as those in China
  • Practitioners of a religion here in the US which would subject them to jailing and torture in their home country upon their return
  • Those who were high ranking officials in a now toppled and persecuted government
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You must prove that the persecution was either perpetuated by the government or by a group that the government was unable or unwilling to control. The persecution must be severe enough to meet the definition in refugee law. Next, you must prove a “nexus” or a connection between the persecution and traits listed above. In other words, you must prove that they persecuted you because of your religion, political opinion, etc. For example, the US Supreme Court held in the Elias Zacarias case that the petitioner failed to prove that his failure to join the guerillas in his home country was due to his political opinion and not some other factor, like fear, and therefore, he failed to show that the persecution was “on account of” his political opinion as opposed to the guerillas coming after him because they didn’t take lightly to him refusing to join their cause.

Asylum law is very complex and caselaw is constantly changing. Success on these cases depends on knowledge of the law and adequate demonstration of the legal elements through proper storytelling and legal arguments. This can only be accomplished by meticulous preparation and is extremely difficult if you do not have an advocate willing and able to spend the time necessary to carefully draft the application and to meticulously prepare you to testify at your asylum hearing. Very legitimate cases are lost because of inconsistencies between the paperwork submitted and the testimony at the hearing. There are few greater disasters than to have someone who legitimately fears persecution be sent back to their home country.

You might have made some mistakes in your past and these mistakes might not allow you to qualify for asylum. It is important to argue that these mistakes, although deplorable, still entitle you to apply for asylum. These arguments require very detailed knowledge of the law and vigorous advocacy. Even if you lose these arguments, however, you may still qualify for other forms of protection, like Withholding of Removal and Convention Against Torture, commonly known as CAT.

Here at Alexandre Law Firm, we recognize that for someone fleeing persecution, the stakes could not be higher. Let us help walk into that hearing with confidence!

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