Law Offices of

Cynthia R. Exner, LLC



American Immigration Lawyers Association










Political Asylum in the U.S.

There are people in the world who are being persecuted, killed, targeted, maimed or are experiencing genocide, etc. When the first immigrants came to the US, they were seeking protection and safety to practice their religious beliefs. Our country was founded on the principles of freedom. Today, Political Asylum still exists for foreign persons seeking protection from persecution or fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. In general terms, it must be the government of the foreign country that is persecuting them, or failing to protect them from persecution.
A person may apply for Political Asylum affirmatively by applying directly to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Any application must be supported by as much documentary evidence as possible. It is difficult to obtain documentary evidence when a person is fleeing for his/her life. If the application is denied by USCIS, the person will probably be placed into removal/deportation proceedings before the immigration court. The application for Political Asylum can then be renewed before the immigration court and a full trial will be held with witnesses and testimony.
Many people do not take the risk of applying affirmatively for Political Asylum, because, if they lose their case and are denied, they have effectively placed themselves into removal/deportation proceedings. If they lose the removal/deportation proceeding trial, they will be removed/deported from the US.
Many people wait to apply for Political Asylum as a last resort. If they are already in removal/deportation proceedings, then they may also apply for Political Asylum for the very first time before the immigration court. Since there are other ways to become legal in the US, many people prefer to start a family-sponsor case or an employer-sponsor case. It is very difficult to win a Political Asylum case, and obtaining witness testimony and documentary evidence can be very difficult.
In general, with a few exceptions, in order to apply for Political Asylum, a person must affirmatively apply within one year of arriving in the U.S.