The United States offers asylum relief to individuals who can demonstrate a fear of being persecuted for their race, nationality, religion or political opinion if they have to return to their home country. Individuals who may qualify for asylum relief in the U.S. should file their application as soon as they can and within a year of living in the U.S.
A recent immigration case is an example of how immigrants can apply for asylum in the U.S. to prevent deportation or returning to their home country. A man who suffers from bipolar disorder applied for asylum after the Homeland Security Department attempted to deport him for an expired visa.
The man said that he was tortured numerous times in Tanzania and was prosecuted because of his mental illness. Bipolar disorder is viewed as a demon possession in Tanzania, according to the Courthouse News Service reporting on this case.
The man testified during his asylum hearing that his hands and feet were bound for several hours a day while hospital nurses beat him. Two witnesses also testified that mental illnesses are considered contagious in Tanzania, which is the reason why the man was tortured and abused.
A federal appellate court panel ruled that the man qualified for asylum status in the U.S. This means that the man can continue living in the U.S. Since the man has been in the country, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and said he is able to work and live independently through medication.
This case is an example of the ways asylum relief can impact a person's life. If this man was deported back to his home country, he would have likely been tortured and abused based on his mental illness. This is not okay and shows why it is important to apply for asylum relief as soon as possible.
Source: UPI, "Bipolar man who was tortured in Tanzania granted U.S. asylum," Jan. 22, 2014