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What does it mean to seek asylum in the United States?

Every year thousands of people arrive in the United States from countries throughout the world. Some of these travelers are just that - individuals who wish to visit the country to learn about its history and culture, and who wish to experience the tastes, sounds and sights of America for themselves. Others, though, arrive on American soil because they no longer feel safe in their own countries. Individuals in the latter situation spread out throughout the nation and settle in communities in every state, including Illinois.

If they have been persecuted in their home nations, they may wish to apply for asylum in the United States. Asylum is available to individuals who cannot or will not go back to their home countries because they do not feel that they will be safe. Many who seek asylum are political, religious or racial minorities in their home countries and may fear for their lives if they remain there.

In order to seek asylum a person must first arrive on U.S. soil. Once they have done so they must apply for asylum. In their application for asylum they must explain why it is that they cannot return to their home, what evidence they have of their situation and, as a result of their application and interview, they may be granted the status of a refugee. Once a person has been granted asylum they may seek to become a permanent resident and gain other benefits.

Not all claims of asylum are granted by American authorities and individuals who are in the country illegally and who do not receive asylum may be deported. Immigration attorneys can help them build their cases in support of remaining in the United States as refugees.

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