Are you in removal proceedings? Removal proceedings are a scary thing for anyone! If you believe that you have a claim to asylum based on past harm you faced in your home country, because of something you cannot or should not have to change about yourself; or, if you have a good reason to fear harm if you are deported back to your home country, because of something you cannot or should not have to change about yourself; then you might have a great defense against deportation! This defense would be in the form of an Asylum claim brought in front of an Immigration Judge during your removal proceedings. Also, you are even able to bring this defensive asylum claim to the Immigration Judge, even if you have previously had your affirmative asylum application rejected!

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How does the Defensive Asylum Process work? Basically, there are two ways that a person can find it necessary to present a defensive asylum claim. One way, is if you have been placed in Removal Proceedings.Typically, this will arise in one of the following instances:

  • If you were caught and apprehended in the United States or at a port of entry, while in violation of your immigration status; or,
  • If you were caught by US customs and CBP trying to enter the United States while undocumented
  • If you were otherwise placed in Removal Proceedings by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement for an Immigration Violation or a violation of law;

If you find yourself in Removal Proceedings, then a valid asylum claim, is always a defense against deportation. The other way you could find yourself having to present a Defensive Asylum Claim, is if you are illegally in the United States, and USCIS decides they cannot approve your Affirmative Asylum application.This does not mean that your application was denied, it just means that they find it necessary to refer it to an Immigration Attorney. Unfortunately, if you find yourself in this situation, it means that you will also be in removal proceedings as a result of you having been illegally in the country. However, you don’t need to be legally in the United States to apply for asylum. If this is the case, then the Immigration Judge will independently determine your eligibility for asylum, during your scheduled removal proceeding. This means that it is irrelevant what USCI thought regarding your application, and you get a fresh, new, and stressful opportunity to present your asylum case to a judge. Regardless of how you apply for Asylum (Affirmatively or Defensively), the criteria for getting asylum granted to you is the same. You will typically have to initiate the asylum process within a year of entering the United States, unless you have extraordinary reasons for not doing so, or changed circumstances that adequately justify your delay in applying. Also, you will have to prove to the immigration authorities that you qualify as a refugee. This means you will have to show the authorities that, you suffered past persecution (harm) in your home country, because of your: race, nationality, religious beliefs, political opinions, or affiliations with certain recognizable social groups (which the applicant can define); OR that, such persecution/harm is likely to happen to you if you’re deported, because of your: race, nationality, religious beliefs, political opinions, or affiliations with certain recognizable social groups (which again the applicant can define). Asylum is an extremely tricky area of U.S. Immigration Law. The authorities are very used to dealing with, and rejecting, fraudulent, frivolous, or poorly argued/articulated claims to asylum. This means that, if you have a good case and claim to asylum based on your factual circumstances, you really need to argue your position effectively. Enlisting the help of an experienced Immigration Attorney (such as Zontlaw’s Attorneys), can give you the best shot at having your claim to asylum granted, and you not being deported. Your future in the United States is on the line, and particularly when arguing for Asylum in Removal Proceedings. Don’t hesitate to contact us today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Requesting an Interpreter

The Immigration Judge will also ask the attorney what the respondent’s best language is. Unlike at the asylum interview, in Immigration Court, a professional interpreter is supplied by the Court for the Individual Hearing. Even if a respondent wants to supply her own interpreter, she cannot. The attorney should assure the client that interpreters are bound by rules of confidentiality and would lose their jobs if they discussed asylum cases outside of court. Nevertheless, if the applicant can testify in English, you may choose to do so. The attorney can ask the Judge at the Master Calendar whether the Judge will allow the interpreter to be there as back up on the Individual date in case the applicant doesn’t understand a question, or whether the Judge’s policy is to require the entire hearing to be conducted either in English or in the applicant’s native language.

What will happen at the hearing?

If you are applying for one of the defenses to deportation, the Immigration Judge will give you time to fill out the application. Then the judge will give you another hearing date where you will have several hours to explain your case.

What questions will Immigration ask?

The Immigration Judge may ask you many questions. You must tell the truth and answer the question asked. It is important to accept responsibility for your mistakes and show that you have changed. If you do not understand a question, tell the Immigration Judge. If the Judge does not ask you these questions, be prepared to tell the Judge the following information anyway

 Call today for a free asylum consultation

The U.S. asylum process is very complicated, so the best chance of success comes by working with an experienced asylum attorney.  We are highly experienced in US asylum law.  We have helped people from all over the world fleeing persecution to gain asylum in the US. Our attorneys, translators and support staff will work with you individually to give you the best chance of success possible.  We know how difficult and heart wrenching the asylum process can be, and we will be with you every step of the way. Your citizenship and your residency status is something you should entrust to a professional. Call the top New York Immigration Attorneys at toll free at  (888) ZONTLAW / (888) 9668529

Can I ask for political asylum from outside the US?

NO. To apply for political asylum, you must be in the United States (embassies or diplomatic missions outside the US will not help you in this matter). Being outside the US, you can only apply for refugee status and this procedure is also a complicated procedure.

Can I apply for asylum when crossing the border?

This is possible, and such cases often occur at the border crossing with Mexico. The application directly on the border is an extreme measure. A very important point is that when you cross the border without the necessary permission (US visa) and asylum application, you are most likely to be detained and placed in an immigration prison where you will conduct initial inquiries and check all the facts you previously stated . The decisions of the border service can be delayed for weeks or even months.

Can I apply for political asylum if I am illegally in the US?

You have the right to defend and examine your application, even if you are in an illegal status. It is very important that this happens in the first year of your stay in the country. Otherwise, you have to argue, there are compelling reasons why you did not do this before.

How long does it take to get an interview for asylum?

Beginning on January 29, 2018, the Immigration Department for Asylum (USCIS Citizenship and Immigration Service Group) will give priority to the newest applications when assigning interviews. Such a change in the schedule of interviews will make it possible to weed out those applicants who use groundless statements and try to use this process solely to obtain a work permit and will enable the USCIS to immediately identify such persons and begin the process of their deportation. In reality, the new Priority will allow the USCIS to make decisions on qualified asylum seekers more quickly and efficiently.

Contact Attorney J.Greenberg


    Check your Eligibility, Register, Sign (or Schedule a Consultation First). Begin by answering one of our online Eligibility Quizzes. If all goes well, our software will tentatively assign you a case.* You will then be able to register, create your profile, and request an individualized price quote for your case–all for free. We will get back to you with an individualized price quote shortly. You can then sign our electronic retainer at the quoted price (subject to certain reservations). Or, if you prefer, you can schedule and pay for a consultation, before signing. If you choose to make us your attorneys by signing right away; you will use our secure online system to make your first payment, and then you will still be prompted to schedule a consultation. To ethically and most effectively serve you, our Full Attorney Representation Service always begins with a consultation. How our Legal Services Work page.*

    Have your Initial Consultation with your Attorney and let them get to work. Your attorney will contact you as scheduled, for your consultation. They will verify your eligibility for the case our software pre-selected, and make sure it is actually the best option for you. Your attorney will detail the steps for handling your specific immigration matter, and render you any necessary and pertinent legal advice. Addressing your questions, and requesting any documents and information that you’ll need you to provide (such as birth certificates), will also be priorities of the consultation. If you did not already retain Zontlaw formally, your attorney will send you a price quote (with the $150 dollar consultation fee deducted from the cost of your representation); after the consultation. You can then formally sign and retain us as your attorneys. After you make your first payment, your attorney will proceed to the next step. If you have already retained us, you’ll make your first payment if you haven’t already (the one after the $150 minimum), and your attorney will automatically proceed to the next step. How our Legal Services Work page.*

    Finish completing your Forms, your Attorney Checks your Petition, and you Submit. You will use our innovative software system to continue to fill out the necessary forms for your case, and any supporting documentation. Then when you have completed everything, your attorney will check your USCIS forms for accuracy, completeness, adherence to USCIS standards and procedures, and any possible ineligibility/inadmissibility grounds that might come up. Your attorney will tell you how best to address any problems with your petition that they observe, and then you will make the necessary and/or recommended changes. If you elected for the add-on service of having your attorney check your supporting documentation, they will also give you feedback on that. Once you have made the proper changes, you will print your petition, sign where indicated, and then send it off to USCIS in the pre-addressed and pre-paid envelope, we provide. From there, you’ll only have to make sure to respond to any ensuing correspondence or requests from USCIS, should there be any. How our Legal Services Work page.*


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    With more than a decade in the field, Julia Greenberg has earned a reputation as a highly successful immigration attorney. Since 2006, she has represented countless corporate and individual clients in complex matters ranging from removal (deportation) to asylum, family, business and investor’s petitions, and employment-based cases.

    Authorized to practice in immigrant courts throughout the United States, Ms. Greenberg may also appear before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Northern, and Eastern districts of New York, and the New York Supreme Court. Ms. Greenberg takes pride in helping clients who have been unable to get satisfactory results elsewhere. Her honesty and compassion, combined with her expertise and vast knowledge of immigration law make her a formidable opponent in court – resulting in a long list of satisfied clients and positive referrals.

    Outside of court, Ms. Greenberg often addresses Congress regarding relevant legislation. She also devotes her spare time to making presentations at local events, where she answers questions for New York’s immigrant community.Ms. Greenberg is a member of the New York City Bar Association, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), where she is a member in good standing in its New York Chapter. Ms. Greenberg is also fluent in Russian.

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