Asylum and Refugee Laws
Asylum is a complicated area of immigration law that is constantly changing. Therefore, legal representatives must stay constantly up to date.
1) The first question to ask is who is a refugee or an asylee?
A refugee or an asylee is defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act as:
A person who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of last habitual residence due to a well-founded fear of future persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or social group INA §101(a)(42)(A).
2) The burden is on the applicant of an asylum claim.
3) A person must show that she/he has:
A well-founded fear or a past experience of persecution by a persecutor on the basis of race, religion, national origin, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group, and one of the enumerated grounds was or will be a central reason for the persecution. As in all other cases, an Asylum claim is mainly based on credibility of the applicant, among other factors.
An asylee or refugee is a person who is unable or unwilling to go back to his/her country of origin due to a well-founded fear of future persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in particular social group.
The most litigated and controversial category is the “particular social group” membership:
Examples of members of a particular social group are:
- Women and girls subjected to Female Genital Mutilation or cutting a/k/a “circumcision”
- Women/girls fleeing honor killings
- Women/men/children victims of domestic violence,
- Sexual orientation: being gay, lesbian or transgender among others,
- Belonging to a drug cartel or gang a person is trying to avoid or flee, etc.