Asylum is a form of relief available to alien nationals who have been persecuted or have a "well-founded fear" of persecution on account of one of the following:
- political opinion, or
- membership in a particular social group
An individual who can prove persecution on one of these accounts will be considered a "refugee" and may qualify for a grant of asylum. That grant will allow the alien to remain in the United States and apply to adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident after one year of the asylum grant.
It is important to note that an asylum application is a time-sensitive form of relief. There is a one (1) year deadline to file it before the Asylum Office or before the Immigration Court. This is why a timely analysis of the facts and the circumstances of the alien's case is crucial to determine whether he or she is eligible for this form of relief.
Withholding of Removal and Convention Against Torture (CAT)
In those cases where a refugee has failed to file for asylum on time, or where the particular facts and issues of the case do not qualify him or her for asylum, there may still be options. If an alien can establish that it is "more likely than not" that his life or freedom would be threatened on account of: race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group, he or she could be eligible for withholding of removal and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT).