Relief Under the United Nation Convention Against Torture
An individual who fears that he or she would be tortured by or at the initiation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity if returned to their country of origin may qualify for relief under the United Nations Convention Against Torture. This allows an individual to remain in the U.S. if they are likely to be tortured in their country of origin.
Unlike asylum and withholding of removal, to qualify for relief under the Convention Against Torture, an individual is not required to show that the torture he or she will be subjected to is "on account of" their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. There is also no one year filing deadline for CAT relief. The standard for relief under the Convention Against Torture is that it is more likely than not that the applicant would face torture, which is a very high burden. The Convention Against Torture is not often granted, because this requires at least a fifty-one percent (51%) probability that the individual will be tortured if returned to their country of origin.
The primary reason that an individual might seek relief under the Convention Against Torture is that if an applicant meets the high standard for relief, she or he must be granted relief, even if he or she has been convicted of very serious crimes (including aggravated felonies) in the U.S. The immigration judge has no discretion to deny the application. However, if the U.S. Government feels that an individual who has been granted relief under the Convention Against Torture is a danger to the community, because he or she has committed very serious crimes, the U.S. Government may detain him or her even after having he or she has been granted relief.
In addition, an individual who has been granted relief under the Convention Against Torture cannot pursue permanent residence and cannot travel outside of the U.S. A grant of relief under the Convention Against Torture does not confer any status on the applicant's spouse or children.
A knowledgeable immigration attorney who understands how to properly prepare, file, and present an application for relief under the Convention Against Torture can significantly increase an individual's chances of being granted such relief by the U.S. Government. This is especially true as withholding of removal requires an individual to meet a high standard of a probability of torture if returned to their country of origin.