Why It’s So Hard for Asylum Seekers to Immigrate Into the US

Immigration has never been easy and perhaps it is harder now in the current political climate. Asylum seekers are a different kind of immigrant because they are fleeing the persecution of some kind. Asylum immigration is difficult because there are many steps and many ways to be qualified. If you or a loved one is seeking asylum, contact Carmen Fullerton, immigration lawyers in Lexington. We can help you navigate the system and make sure your rights are protected.

What is an asylum seeker

The Refugee Act, made law in 1980, governs policies on asylum seekers in America. Asylum is when the government gives protection to someone who has fled another country, fearing he or she may be harmed. We can help you regardless of your legal status.

Sometimes asylum seekers arrive in America legally for that very purpose. Others have let their visas expire, and others got here illegally. Regardless of how you got here, if you need asylum, our attorneys can help you get justice.

A person seeking asylum must ask for it at a port of entry, like a border crossing or an airport. A person may also file an application within one year after arriving in the country.


A person seeking asylum must show they are unable or unwilling to return to their country because they were persecuted there. A person may also apply if they have a reasonable fear that they will be persecuted if they return. 

There are five basic reasons or grounds for asylum from persecution.

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Part of a particular social group
  • political opinions.

Persecution is often thought of as physical, but it does not always have to be.  People seeking asylum must have suffered harassment, injury, or oppression of some kind that can be physical or psychological.

Who is not eligible?

If a person was involved in persecuting another group of people for the reasons listed above, they would not be eligible to seek asylum in the United States.  A person who has been convicted of serious crimes, or a series of crimes that are not political in nature, is also not eligible. Immigration officials may also determine at times that a person is a danger to the security of the United States, and that also makes them ineligible. A person who has lived in a different country than the one they is fleeing is not eligible.

Withholding removal

People who are facing deportation can seek relief in the form of “withholding of removal,” which stops the deportation process.  This is similar to asylum but applies only to those facing deportation. If the person is likely to suffer persecution if they are sent back, they may qualify for this type of relief. 

In order to qualify for this, the person must have fled the country because of persecution. The person also has to provide strong evidence that they will be persecuted if sent back to that country. If a person is granted this, they may stay in the United States and work. They may not apply for Lawful Permanent Resident status, and if they leave the country for any reason they will not be allowed to return.

Burden of proof

Asylum seekers have the burden of proof in all cases, which is why it is smart to have an attorney help you navigate the system. You must prove you are a refugee — meaning you fled persecution. Refugees are given screening interviews to establish if they have a Credible or Reasonable fear of being persecuted.  The person must be able to show there is a reasonable possibility they will be persecuted if they return to their country. 

Recent developments

Especially over the last two years, the rules have tightened for immigration and for asylum seekers. People may not automatically apply for asylum at the border points along the southern border, for instance. In some cases, credible and reasonable fear hearings are not being held.  Recently the government has also tried to deny refugee status to people who only passed through another country on their way to the United States. This has caused people from South America to have to stay in Mexico for instance.

Get an attorney

Now, more than ever, you will need an asylum immigration attorney to make sure you get fair treatment and that your rights are protected. Contact Carmen Fullerton, immigration lawyers in Lexington. if you are in need of seeking asylum or are facing deportation.





WE SAID THIS: Tell us what you think in the comments section.