USA Political Asylum | Texas Immigration Attorney

Ask Garry: USA Political Asylum Issues – One Year Filing Deadline and Work Authorization

Many people come to the United States for the purpose of seeking protection from persecution in their countries of nationality. To pursue that protection, a person must file an I-589 Application for Political Asylum. For an application to be arguable, the applicant must be able to prove that they are at risk of being persecuted in the country of nationality. The reason the persecutors would harm the application must be because of the political opinions, religious beliefs, race, national origin or membership in a particular social group of the applicant. If the applicant can prove these points, there is a chance for success with the application.

Political Asylum One Year Filing Deadline

The law on political asylum requires the applicant to submit the application with the government within 1 year of the most recent entry into the US. Unfortunately, many Political Asylum hopefuls are not aware of this rule. It is critical that the I-589 Application be received by either US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the Immigration Court for people who have a hearing with an Immigration Judge scheduled within 1 year of the last entry into the US.

There are some exceptions. One exception is maintenance of nonimmigrant status, such as F-1 student status of H-1B professional worker status. USCIS will generally consider a Political Asylum application timely filed any time in which the applicant has maintained legal status, or within a reasonable time after the end of the legal status.

Another exception is changed circumstances that have created an asylum claim where one did not exist before. For example, if country conditions back home have changed, such as an outbreak of war, an explosion of persecution against similarly situated people, or a significant change in political leadership, the Asylum application can be considered timely filed. To qualify, the applicant must prove that the application was filed within a reasonable amount of time after the conditions had changed.

The government can also consider exceptional circumstances that prevented the application from being filed within 1 year of the last entry. Generally, this exception relates to life events or current events beyond the applicant’s control. Some examples are the after-effects of severe persecution, the death of a close family member, or the severe illness of the applicant. It can also include ineffective assistance of an attorney, such as when an attorney has told the applicant the case has been filed timely when it actually hadn’t.

Another exception can be the timely filing of an application and the rejection of that application by USCIS. There are many reasons USCIS might reject an application. Missing signatures or passport photographs are the most common errors. Not providing sufficient copies of the application for dependent family members is another common reason. Also, failing to complete significant lines of questions on the application can lead to rejection. Finally, USCIS sometimes rejects applications in error, claiming a deficiency that is not there.

The critical takeaway is to make sure the I-589 Application for Political Asylum has been filed within 1 year of the last entry into the US. If it is already past 1 year, consult with a competent and experienced immigration lawyer to review the exceptions and see if one might apply.

Asylum Work Authorization

Many Asylum hopefuls mistakenly believe that filing the Asylum application is enough to qualify to receive employment authorization. That is true in some countries, but not the United States. The law requires that the Asylum application be pending with the government for at least 150 days before an application for employment authorization can be filed. Also, the work permit cannot be issued unless, and until, the application has been pending for 180 days. These rules are set to change August 25, 2020, and will become much more restrictive unless the courts intervene to end the administration’s policy changes.

Don’t let these restrictions deter you from filing for Political Asylum. If you are afraid of returning to your country because of the risk of being persecuted on a protected ground, file it. Consult with experienced immigration counsel to determine your eligibility and chances for success.

Contact Davis & Associates in Dallas for a Free Consultation

Davis & Associates in Dallas and Houston, Texas, is a premier, award-winning immigration law firm. Their mission is to protect the rights of those who hope to remain in the United States to work, live and succeed.

The multilingual staff of Davis & Associates will be pleased to meet with you to discuss your situation. Experienced and well-prepared, a Davis & Associates asylum attorney will work with you to identify strategies that pertain to your situation.


About Davis & Associates:

Davis & Associates is the immigration law firm of choice in Houston & North Texas including Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, Frisco, McKinney and surrounding areas. Their attorneys provide expert legal counsel for all aspects of immigration law, including deportation defense, writs of habeas corpus and mandamus, family-sponsored immigration, employment-sponsored immigration, investment immigration, employer compliance, temporary visas for work and college, permanent residence, naturalization, consular visa processing, waivers, and appeals. Attorney Garry L. Davis is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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