Asylum in the U.S. may be granted if the applicant can demonstrate a “well-founded fear of persecution” based on (1) political opinion, (2) religion, (3) race, (4) nationality, or (5) membership in a particular social group. A person who is outside the U.S. may apply for refugee status based on these same criteria. The Refugee Act of 1980 conforms US immigration laws with various UN conventions and protocols.
The fear of persecution must be either by the government of one’s country or by a group that the government is unable to control.
If the person is able to establish “past persecution”, a presumption arises that he has established a well-founded fear of persecution. The burden of proof shifts to the government to demonstrate that circumstances have changed and that the person no longer has a well-founded fear of persecution or that the person could avoid persecution by relocating in another part of his country and that it would be reasonable for him to do so.
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