Friday, September 20, 2013

Asylum Law and Public Benefits for Asylees

As Americans, we take pride in the fact that our country is a safe haven for people who are persecuted in their homelands. Since the early nineteenth century, we have had a rich history of allowing thousands of people to find safety and hope within our borders, and to flourish as members of our society.  However, our asylum laws do not all reflect this sentiment.  In 1996, for example, immigration laws were changed to require that people seeking asylum apply within one year of their arrival. 
In many asylum cases, individuals do not find out that they qualify and can apply for asylum within a year of their entry.  The traumatic experiences that most applicants go through is enough alone to make it difficult to file within one year.  Currently, the Asylum Office does not recognize this reality and refuses to excuse delayed application unless there is some “extraordinary circumstance.”

To be granted asylum, a person must (1) prove that they are refugee by showing that if they return to their country, they have a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion; (2) show that they are not inadmissible for any other reason; and (3) corroborate their claim with evidence.
Not only do people seeking asylum face legal obstacles, they also face logistical problems even after they have been granted status:  As I waded through the dozens of government websites, made phone call after call, and read over countless advisories and memos in my own research on asylum law, I realized that it takes tremendous energy and dedication to apply for public benefits as a refugee or asylee in the United States.

At McCrummen Immigration Law Group, we have the legal knowledge, experience, and determination to help asylum applicants wade through the complex legal processes that would otherwise be nearly insurmountable.  We also have several resources in our office to assist asylees in obtaining public benefits, including Social Security, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (TANF), Health Care, Public Housing, Employment Assistance, and Child Care.  A great place for asylees to find information about public benefits are local state websites and centers:

Missouri Refugee Resettlement Program:
(Contact info varies by region)

Kansas Refugee Program:

Office of Refugee Resettlement; U.S. Department of Human Health and Services

If you are a person who would like to file for asylum, but the task seems insurmountable or overwhelming, you should contact a licensed immigration attorney who is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).  Our attorneys at McCrummen Immigration Law Group are well versed in the laws of asylum, and we have experience with complex cases.
By: Shane Wesley
The McCrummen Immigration Law Group, LLC

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