Refugee Status, Asylum, and Convention Against Torture

Refugee and Asylum Claims

A refugee is defined as any person outside his or her country of nationality, or, in the case of a person having no nationality, his or her last habitual residence, who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable to unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country because of past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

An asylee is a person who meets the above definition of a refugee but who is either physically present in the United States or is at a port of entry at the time he or she seeks refuge.

Having refugee or asylum status in the United States entitles a person to work, eventually seek a green card and petition for their spouse and children, as well as obtain many other benefits. However, the requirements for asylum and the scrutiny of petitions have become much more stringent, including that an asylum claim must be filed within one year of entry into the United States (with limited exception).

Convention Against Torture (CAT)

Making a claim under the Convention Against Torture follows the same application procedure as asylum, except that relief for withholding of removal under CAT does not entitle the successful petitioner to apply for a green card or petition for relatives.

To be considered for withholding of removal under CAT, the petitioner must prove that it is more likely than not he or she will be subject to torture upon removal. Torture is defined as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or her or third person information or a confession, punishing him or her for an act he or she has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or her or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind…”

Trust Asylum Claims to Immigrants First

Credibility of the petitioner and thorough preparation of the application is paramount in asylum and CAT petitions. Immigrants First has extensive experience in successfully handling complex and cutting-edge refugee, asylum and Convention Against Torture claims. We thoroughly document a client’s past history in their country and project what they will face upon their return. We research country conditions and gather evidence supporting their claims. We carefully analyze the arguments, undertake careful legal research, and write winning briefs.

In addition to meeting our client’s legal needs, our firm’s holistic approach to working with traumatized clients enables them to regain a sense of empowerment. Sensitivity to our clients’ spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical needs allow them to build trust in themselves and in their relationship with us, resulting in dramatically better case preparation. We encourage potential clients to contact us for a consultation.