Applying for Asylum in New York City
From the many types of clients that appear in my office, some of the saddest stories are probably from clients that are seeking asylum in the United States. It is true that every personal story has its own tragedies. However, most of the individuals I meet seeking asylum have lived through some horrific events unlike most.
These cases should be taken extremely serious as someone’s life is likely at stake. Returning an asylum seeker back to the country that they are scared to return to is something that I just can’t live with. It is because of this, that I feel that I have a great obligation to try to protect my client and their family.
Look, the fact is that an asylum case is not an easy case. The asylum office of the United States Citizenship & Immigration Service and/or the Immigration Court will want you to prove your case. So, how do you prove your asylum case? What if you don’t have any documents to prove that you are subject to persecution? These are great questions. You should know that it is actually rare that a client comes into my office with all the proofs in hand. In some cases, the client was so fearful that the client literally left with nothing but the clothes on his back. The law does allow a fact finder to approve a case without any evidence in the form of supporting documents. In some cases, the testimony of the asylum seeker may be enough.
An asylum seeker should always proceed with caution when filing for asylum. Some mistakes may not be fixable. This is why someone should always proceed with the advice of a licensed and experienced attorney. Yes, it will costs money but I assure you, if things go bad during your asylum process because of ignorance of the law, it will cost you much much more to try to fix the problem, if it is at all even possible. Remember . . . the best investment is investing in yourself and your family.
Applying and Filing for Asylum in New York City from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan or Kazakhstan
My office has had the pleasure of representing countless numbers of individuals from the so called “Stan” countries of the former Soviet Union. Many of these individuals have decided to file for asylum due to the persecution they faces and/or will face back home.
What I have learned is that these individuals whether from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan or Kazakhstan have some similar issues although certainly they are quite different, both in culture and practice. Certainly, if you are looking for an ethnic group made up of people from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan or Kazakhstan, Brooklyn is probably where you would find these cultures living together.
Some of the questions that they have raised regarding asylum are quite common. So, I thought it best if I just discuss some of the Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I file for Asylum if I’m from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan or Kazakhstan?
This questions is a general question and my answer is usually that they can file and nothing stops them from doing so. However, the individuals would still need to qualify for asylum based on certain grounds, which in general include: race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.
What happens when I file for asylum?
In general there are two methods of filing. The first is often referred to as an affirmative filing, which refers to someone filing for asylum affirmatively, meaning on their own directly with USCIS (Immigration). The second method is referred to as a defensive filing, which usually refers to someone filing for asylum defensively during removal or deportation proceedings. So, if someone files for asylum affirmatively, the person is ordinarily scheduled for an asylum hearing in front of an asylum officer. At that time, the application is either approved or referred to the Immigration Court. If the application is filed defensively, the Immigration Judge will make decision.
Where will my asylum hearing be if I live in Brooklyn?
The asylum office that services individuals that live in any of the five boroughs or Long Island, will usually be scheduled for an asylum hearing at the Asylum Office in Rosedale, Queens, New York.
Will I receive work (employment) authorization?
Generally, a person who files for asylum will usually obtain work authorization after 150 days. However, the calculation of time is sometimes complicated.
What are my chances of winning or approval of the asylum application?
This is a difficult question to answer. A lot of information is needed in order to provide an evaluation of the asylum claim. However, keep in mind that the laws were designed to protect asylum seekers, and the United States has vowed to protect individuals who fear returning to a country where they can establish that they would be persecuted.
As long as you work with an experienced lawyer and you can document and evidence your past persecution and/or future persecution, you will have USCIS (Immigration) and/or an Immigration Judge give you the opportunity to present your case.