ASYLUM LAWYERS IN NEW JERSEY
Handing Asylum & Refugee Status, Withholding of Removal, & TPS
Practicing since 1987, The Law Offices of Lloyd E. Bennett, Esq., P.C. has the resources, knowledge, and skills necessary to achieve your goals. Our immigration lawyer in New Jersey has helped over 10,000 immigrants with their immigration matters. We are committed to providing you with thorough and detail-oriented legal services, and we promise to begin working on your asylum case immediately to achieve those goals as quickly as possible. We will keep you informed about your case every step of the way, and we will always respond to your questions or concerns.
How to Qualify for Asylum
People who are unable or unwilling to return to their country of last residence fall into the category of refugees or political asylum seekers. People typically seek asylum or refugee status because of past persecution or because they have reason to fear there will be future persecution from their government or groups the government is unwilling to control. If you are currently outside the United States, you would seek refugee protection. If you are already in the U.S., then you would seek asylum.
What Counts as Persecution?
Persecution is when one experiences harm or serious threats that cannot be avoided by moving to another part of the country. The threat would have to be nationwide for the individual to qualify.
Common examples of persecution are:
- Death threats
- Discrimination (involving housing, education, even passport issuance, etc.)
- Interference with privacy
- Unfair detention
If you have not experienced persecution recently, you may still qualify for political asylum or refugee status. You only need to have a genuine fear of future persecution in your last country of residence.
How Do I Apply for Asylum?
Every year people come to the United States seeking protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution due to:
- Membership in a particular social group
- Political opinion
Asylum applicants have no quota, nor is there a need for a financial sponsor. To apply for asylum, the applicant may be inside or attempting to enter the U.S. If an application for asylum is made upon entry to the U.S., there will be a credible fear interview to determine initial eligibility for asylum. The asylum seeker must show they have a “well-founded fear” of future persecution in their home country. The Supreme Court defines this as a 10% chance the person would be persecuted for a protected ground if deported.
If the applicant passes the interview, the case will proceed through the Immigration Court. If the applicant is already inside the U.S. and not in removal proceedings, an asylum application can be filed with USCIS if it is filed within one year of entry. In these cases, the case will proceed through the asylum office. If the application is denied, the applicant will be placed into removal proceedings before the Immigration Court.
The applicant may include spouse and children on the application as long as they are in the U.S. at the time it is filed or at any time until a final decision is made in the case. If granted asylum, the applicant may petition to bring a spouse and children from abroad. To include a child, the child must be under 21 and unmarried.
Once an asylum application has been filed and pending for 365 days, an applicant may apply for a work permit. One year after an asylum grant, the applicant is eligible for a green card.
As of April 1, 1997, the following adjustments have been made to the application of Political Asylum:
- They must be filed within one year of entry to the United States.
- Applicants are subject to a second interview.
- Work authorization will be granted if the asylum application is approved.
- After one year, those granted asylum may apply for Lawful Permanent Residency and citizenship thereafter.
How Do I Apply for Refugee Status?
To apply for refugee status, one must:
- Physically be outside the United States
- Undergo a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services interview to determine their eligibility
- Have a financial sponsor inside the United States who will pay the cost of travel to this country and support the refugee once they have arrived
Unfortunately, the U.S government sets the number of foreign nationals able to achieve refugee status, and it cannot be exceeded.
What Is Withholding of Removal?
Withholding of removal is similar to asylum, but applicants must meet a higher threshold. People applying for withholding must demonstrate that it is more than 50% likely that they would be persecuted in their home country if they were forced to return. The exception is to prove that they have suffered persecution on account of a protected ground in the past.
Withholding is typically available to those who do not qualify for asylum, such as those with prior Orders of Removal. It can only be granted by an immigration judge after a hearing. A person granted withholding can stay in the U.S. after a judge issues a removal order. The removal is “withheld”; however, the government can still deport the person to a third country if that country agrees to accept them. It does not offer a path to permanent residency and does not allow those granted withholding to bring family members to the U.S. A person granted withholding cannot apply for citizenship, and the withholding is subject to revocation anytime.
What Is Temporary Protected Status?
Temporary Protective Status (TPS) is a form of humanitarian relief designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security. The Secretary of Homeland Security has designated several foreign countries for TPS due to conditions in those countries that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely. In certain circumstances, the countries are designated because they cannot adequately handle their nationals’ return.
One can obtain TPS if their country is experiencing:
- Natural or environmental disaster
- Ongoing armed conflict
- Another extraordinary and temporary condition
People granted TPS status cannot be deported from the U.S. and can apply for work permits and travel in some instances. If you are a citizen from one of these countries and meet all of the other eligibility requirements, an immigration lawyer at The Law Offices of Lloyd E. Bennett can help you obtain Temporary Protected Status.
Breaking News: For the most recent alerts from USCIS regarding TPS, click here.
What Countries Are Designated for TPS?
This changes somewhat often because their designations are temporary. The most recent list from the Department of Homeland Security lists 10 countries designated for temporary protected status.
The 10 currently designated countries include:
- South Sudan
- El Salvador
- Burma (Myanmar)
How Can I Apply for TPS Status?
To be eligible for TPS, you must:
- Be a national of a country designated for TPS or a person without nationality who last resided in the designated country.
- File during the open initial registration/re-registration period or meet the requirements for late initial filing during any extension of your country’s TPS designation.
- Have been continuously physically present in the United States since the effective date of the most recent designation date of your country.
- Have been continuously residing in the United States since the date specified for your country.
You may NOT be eligible for TPS or to maintain your existing TPS if you:
- Have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States
- Are found inadmissible as an immigrant
- Are subject to any of the mandatory bars to asylum
- Fail to meet the continuous physical presence and continuous residence in the United States requirements
- Fail to meet initial or late initial TPS registration requirements
- If granted TPS, you fail to re-register for TPS, as required, without good cause
Get Assistance from Our New Jersey Immigration Lawyers
Winning these cases has become increasingly difficult due to policies put in place by the Trump Administration over the past few years. If you would like legal advice and assistance concerning an application, call our immigration law office today and schedule an initial consultation. During this time, we will review your immigration history and decide whether you qualify for any of the above benefits. Additionally, we will look at your complete immigration history along with the immigration status of your family to determine if there is another path available. Reach out to a New Jersey immigration lawyer today.