This guide explains what types of documents can be used in an asylum case. This uses the case of an atheist, or apostate, as an example because such an argument is based on political opinion, religion and particular social group.
Documents to Demonstrate Political Opinion
The definition of atheism at its core is the absence of believing in any religion. For this reason, we prepare these cases based on political opinion. The political opinion of these asylum applicants is that the government should not force ANY religious belief on any member of the homeland. Leadership in an organization, volunteer work, writing articles, and serving as an editor of a publication is reasonable, substantial, and probative evidence on the record as a whole demonstrating an asylum applicant's actual belief. This is the law as explained in Najjar v. Ashcroft, 257 F.3d 1262 (11th Cir. 2001).
Documents to Demonstrate Religion
The definition of religion is any belief about the spiritual destiny of mankind. We request certificates and photos showing participation in religious activities, holidays or sacraments. Some religions also issue identification cards or other proof of leadership positions in the faith. Although there is no requirement that an applicant be deeply involved in her religion to win asylum, I have witnessed that cases are more easily won by those who ARE involved in many activities and events at their place of worship.
Documents to Demonstrate Membership in a Particular Social Group
Membership in a PSG can be demonstrated with many documents, depending on the case. Persons who are viewed as apostates (those who change their religion) are at risk of being killed in countries such as Iran. Importantly, such a person can get asylum by proving that others view her as a member of this group: someone who supports atheism. One such case was the owner of a house where atheists held their meetings. That case relied heavily on affidavits of persons who attended the meetings to prove that the applicant was a member of the PSG (supporter of atheists).
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