National Origin and Ethnic Groups

National Origin and Ethnic Groups

National origin as a basis for asylum is explicitly laid out in U.S. Immigration Law. It is closely related to claiming asylum on the basis of ethnic groups, but it is a distinct category. Nationality is concerned with a group of people’s shared political history or aspirations and nationalities tend to be associated with certain geographical areas or independent states. Ethnic groups on the other hand, are social groups that are identified by others based on having a shared cultural history–particularly shared linguistic history.

These concepts in practice often overlap, but they are technically distinct. Ethnic groups tend to cross state and political boundaries where nationality may not. Persecution based on a person’s ethnic group is also a basis to seek asylum and has been recognized in case law. Ethnicity is often publicly seen to overlap with race (another basis for asylum), but it is distinct from race. Racial categories tend to be broader than ethnic categories and often encompass multiple ethnic groups at the same time.

National origin can be the basis for asylum, but U.S. caselaw suggests that it is a harder and less frequently used basis to achieve asylum than other grounds. Nevertheless, if a person has been persecuted or fears persecution because of their minority national origin in their country of residence (say for example, you were persecuted because your parents were from a neighboring country), then you may have a claim for asylum based on nationality.

Asylum claims based on ethnicity are also possible. Although ethnic groups are not one of the five protected grounds under U.S. asylum law, ethnic group-based asylum claims have been granted under “membership in particular social groups.” It is not important that you yourself identify with being part of a specific ethnic group, but rather that the persecutor perceives you to be and harmed you (or wants to harm you), because of their perception that you are part of an ethnic group. Indigenous people have qualified for asylum in the past, based on persecution related to their indigenous ethnicity, and traditionally linguistic groups that are minorities in their countries have been able to qualify.

If you have been harmed because of your nationality, or your ethnic group, or if you fear future harm based on one of these categories, do not hesitate to contact us. You may have a valid claim to protection under U.S. asylum law.

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.

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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

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