Written by attorney Elizabeth Rose Blandon

Is Economic Deprivation Enough Harm For Asylum?

Economic suffering endured by foreigners in their home country can amount to enough harm so that an Immigration Judge or an Asylum Officer grants asylum. Examples of economic suffering include lack of education which prevents employment, complete lack of employment and scarcity of food or medicine.

To be eligible for Asylum foreigners must:

  • file within one year of arriving in the United States (or satisfy an exception circumstance for failing to do so);

  • qualify as a refugee;

  • demonstrate that they suffered past persecution in their home country or are unwilling to return based on a well-founded fear of future persecution; and

  • show that this harm is based on either race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Asylum will be granted if one of two different situations exists: (1) either basic needs are being deprived, which amounts to a threat to life or freedomor (2) a deliberate severe economic disadvantage exists. This second approach means that the foreigners do not need to prove that their life was in danger, but rather their livelihood was taken. It is an easier win.

The more evidence foreigners can produce to demonstrate that they experienced economic hardship – on account of one of the protected grounds -- the greater the likelihood of success. An experienced immigration attorney can help the client understand the probability of success, without raising expectations unnecessarily.

This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship. Consultation with an experienced competent immigration attorney is the best way to address individual concerns.

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