Services > Asylum and Withholding of Removal

Asylum and Withholding of Removal

The U.S. continues to serve as a haven for foreign nationals who can demonstrate that they have a well-founded fear of persecution on account of:

• Race
• Religion
• Nationality
• Membership in a particular social group
• Political opinion

Foreign nationals seeking asylum in the U.S. must demonstrate that they are refugees who have suffered harm or fear future harm on account of one of these five protected grounds.

They have the burden of proving that the harm suffered in their home country rises to the level of persecution. Persecution generally includes the actual or threat of physical and psychological harm. Other harm, such as social harm, will be considered as part of the cumulative harm suffered. Defining whether an asylum- seeker falls within a "particular social group" can be quite challenging. Through the years, case law has helped define the types of claims that may qualify for asylum based on membership in a "particular social group." For example, it has been established that victims of domestic violence and individuals persecuted on account of their sexual orientation may apply for asylum. Our knowledgeable attorneys can evaluate whether harm you have suffered or fear is based on a protected ground and whether you may qualify for asylum.

Our experienced attorneys can also help you meet the burden of proving that the harm you suffered or feared rises to the level of persecution. In most cases, we will prepare a sworn affidavit detailing your claim. We will advise you as to the documents you need to prove your identity and to corroborate your claim based on the specific facts of your case. Our attorneys will also conduct research and compile reports to demonstrate that your claim is based on actual country conditions. We will help you arrange to have experts provide reports or testify on your behalf, if required.

Asylum cases may be filed affirmatively or defensively. Affirmative applications are those applications filed by asylum-seekers who are not in immigration court proceedings. Defensive asylum applications are those filed by foreign nationals when they are already in deportation or removal proceedings. Our office can help you to prepare your asylum application and supporting documents in both affirmative and defensive cases.

It is important to note that asylum applications must be filed within the first year of arrival.

This rule is generally strictly enforced and asylum-seekers should make every effort to file within their first year in the U.S. There are a few exceptions to the one-year filing deadline. Our attorneys can help you identify "changed circumstances" or "extraordinary circumstances" which might constitute an exception to the filing deadline. If you have passed the one-year filing deadline, you may still be eligible to apply for Withholding of Removal or Protection Under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Asylum, Withholding of Removal and CAT applications are filed on Form I-589. Once your I-589 application is filed, you may be able to apply for employment authorization under certain circumstances.

If you win your asylum case, you will not only be able to live safely in the U.S. but will enjoy many privileges. You will be able to immediately apply for employment authorization and a refugee travel document. You will also be able to file a refugee petition to bring your spouse and minor children to the U.S. if they are abroad. One year after you have been granted asylum, you will be eligible to file for adjustment of status. If your adjustment application is granted, you will receive your "green card" with which you can live peacefully in the U.S. and with all the rights of a legal permanent resident.

If you have suffered persecution or fear persecution upon return to your home country, schedule a consultation with our attorneys and learn if we could help you seek refuge in the U.S. and ultimately assist you in obtaining permanent residence.

"Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free"
-Emma Lazarus

Marilyn Labrada Dume

Marilyn Labrada Dumé

Founder & Managing Partner
Marilyn Dume is the founder and managing partner of the firm. Ms. Dume earned a Juris Doctor degree from Columbia Law School in 1989. Prior to attending Columbia, Ms. Dume attended University of Pennsylvania where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1986. Ms. Dume is admitted to the New Jersey State Bar.

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