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What is the difference between an asylum seeker and a refugee?

A person's purpose for coming to America can vary greatly, as this is dependent on the person and their ultimate goals for their visit. For some, it is truly a visit. Many foreigners come to Illinois and other U.S. states to see the country as a tourist. Others attempt to stay in the country long-term for education or employment purposes. However, in some cases, foreigners seek to remain in the United States because they do not feel safe in their home country. This is known as seeking refuge and could be the reason why an immigrant comes to the country, obtains permanent status and enters the path to citizenship.

What is the difference between an asylum seeker and a refugee? To begin, the similarities will be discussed. Those seeking asylum or refuge are individuals who have been persecuted or fear that they will be persecuted in their home country. This persecution must be based on the individual's race, religion, nationality or membership in a social group or political opinion.

With regards to a refugee, an individual must meet the definition of a refugee. This is generally defined as being a foreigner that is unable or unwilling to return to their home country because he or she fears serious harm. In addition to meeting the definition, an immigrant must also be a person that is of special humanitarian concern to the U.S. in order to obtain this form of protection. In order to obtain a refugee status, an immigrant must seek this referral from outside of the U.S.

In comparison, an asylum seeker is much like a refugee in the sense that he or she must also meet the definition of a refugee. While all asylum seekers are refugees, not all refugees are also an asylee. In order to obtain asylum status, one must meet the definition of a refugee, already be inside the U.S. and be seeking admission at a port of entry into the U.S. It is possible for an immigrant to apply for asylum in the U.S. regardless of their country of origin or his or her immigration status.

When it comes to the safety and wellbeing of an immigrant, asylum or refugee status might be the best way to achieve this. While it may not be an easy process to embark on, it can be an important one. Thus, it is important to be aware of the process, what it entails and the rights an immigrant has throughout the process.

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