Will My Asylum Case Be Denied Because I Broke the Law?
Asylum is a discretionary form of protection, meaning that the government can deny it to persons who it deems are unworthy of this benefit. It is important to understand that some regrettable actions, however, do no not disqualify someone for asylum.
Working Without AuthorizationAlthough it is unlawful to work without government permission, it is sometimes a necessity. Applicants must provide information relating to past employers on the application for asylum. Working without authorization is not a reason to deny asylum.
Manner of EntryNot everyone enters with a visa. Foreigners who entered the United States without any authorization, or overstayed their legal entries, can also apply for asylum. As with all parts of the asylum process, it is critical to be honest about the manner and date of entry.
Criminal MattersAsylum applicants will have their applications denied on mandatory grounds if they committed a crime deemed to be a particularly serious crime or if there is reason to believe they committed a serious nonpolitical crime outside of the United States.
The Immigration and Nationality Act states that all aggravated felony convictions will be deemed particularly serious crimes. These are crimes named aggravated either because of the nature of the offense, the term of imprisonment or the loss to the victim. Because the consequences of such a charge are drastic, a foreigner accused of an aggravated felony MUST hire an immigration attorney.
In determining which convictions constitute a particularly serious crime, the Asylum Officer or Immigration Judge will examine whether the applicant is considered a danger to the community. Additionally, the factfinder will examine the length of the sentence imposed and the nature of the crime. Applicants should present ample evidence of their good nature, notwithstanding this conviction. For instance, asylum applicants should demonstrate that since their conviction they have been law-abiding citizens.
The Immigration judge or Asylum Officer may also deny asylum on a discretionary basis if applicants' have a lengthy and serious criminal history. Nevertheless, a finding that asylum applicants would suffer serious harm in their home country will generally outweigh any discretionary denial based on criminal convictions.
Convictions for fraud-related offenses are particularly sensitive in an asylum case. An Asylum Officer or Immigration Judge must believe the applicant and convictions for fraud predispose them not to believe the applicant.
I do not represent foreigners with certain arrests. Because I represent victims of relationship violence, I do not represent foreigners who have been arrested (even if not convicted) of battery or assault against a woman or a household member. I also do not represent foreigners who have been arrested of controlled substance offenses.