The Two Different Ways to Obtain Asylum in the United States: Affirmative and Defensive Asylum

Posted by Ramona Kennedy | Oct 30, 2019 | 0 Comments

In the field of immigration law, “asylum status” refers to someone who has been granted protection because he or she suffers from persecution. There are specific activities or characteristics that USCIS deems as persecution, so if one is unsure, they should read previous blogs that go into greater detail.

Now that one has established that he or she is deserving of asylum status, the next step is to file your application to the USCIS. Upon receiving your application, USCIS will then categorize each application as an affirmative or defensive process.

Affirmative and defensive processes are different and need to be understood because of the different actions each process will require.

An affirmative asylum application is for applicants who are physically present in the United States and not currently placed in removal proceeding with an immigration judge. These affirmative applicants will file different forms, undergo non-adversarial interviews with consular officers, and must provide a qualified interpreter to the interview (if needed).

After reflecting on USCIS' definition of affirmative asylum proceedings, it is clear that affirmative asylum applications are viewed much more favorably. USCIS promises that the interviews with the officers will be “non-adversarial” while the defensive asylum applicants will be more or less interrogated.

The other type of application is a defensive asylum application, where the applicants do not necessarily have to be in the United States. The main difference between the defensive applicants and the aforementioned is that defensive applicants are currently in the removal process.

These applicants are seeking asylum status because they do not want to be removed from the United States. These defensive applicants will cite similar reasons for why they cannot return to the United States. Reasons often include persecution by race, nationality, religion, or other minority perspectives.

Because these applicants are often facing removal from the United States for various reasons, some people will apply for asylum status as an effort to stay. Naturally, USCIS will look into defensive applications more thoroughly because they want to make sure the individuals are not seeking U.S. residency for ulterior motives.

One of the main differences between defensive and affirmative applications is the interviews. As stated on the USCIS website, defensive applicants will have to face an immigration judge and Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).

This process is much more adversarial, where the judge will use interrogation methods to learn more about the individual. The judges and reviewers will use these methods to make sure that the asylum status and fear of persecution is well-founded and legitimate.

For defensive applicants, it is highly advised that they seek experienced legal counsel that specialize in immigration. The right legal team can help prepare an applicant for their big day when they have to go to court and face the immigration judge.

Entering into court without the right immigration lawyer can really hurt your case. When applicants have to be interviewed and questioned in court, many people will get nervous and make statements they do not intend to make. The right legal team will help prepare you for your interviews and make sure you highlight all the points you want to make.

Ultimately, the asylum status granted to thousands of people each year is a crucial process in United States immigration. This program for citizenship saves countless families and children from persecution in their home countries.

However, the asylum process is still very complicated and complex with many rules that interested applicants must still follow. Additionally, cases involving persecution and asylees are often time sensitive.

Any mistake in one's application can cause months of delay and major setbacks. It is best to just find the right legal help and correctly complete the application the first time.

This is an immigration legal blog. It is not intended to be used as legal advice.

For further information please contact the law offices of attorney Ramona Kennedy.

Ms. Ramona Kennedy received her Jurisprudence Doctorate in America and is a licensed attorney in California (USA). Ramona Kennedy is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).

She is licensed to practice in the United States Supreme Court, US Immigration Courts, California Federal Courts of Southern & Central District & All California Courts. Ramona Kennedy is fluent in English and Farsi (reading & writing).

Email: [email protected] Phones: 13106230080 & 19496770063 Telegram & WhatsApp: 19496770063 Office Locations: Los Angeles (Westwood) Location -Openheimer tower 10880 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1101 Los Angeles CA 90024 Phone: 13106230080 Orange County Locations: Irvine: -7700 Irvine Center Dr. Suite 800, Irvine, CA 92618 Newport Beach: -5000 Birch St, Suite 3000 Newport Beach CA 92660 Phone: 19496770063

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About the Author

Ramona Kennedy

Attorney Ramona Kennedy is a Compassionate attorney who cares and will fight for you A vivid reader, attorney Kennedy was inspired by her father who passionately attributed to her academic & personal growth. Her Father was a very kind, highly intelligent, disciplined & dedicated family man in un...


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