There are many people who flee their home country and come to the United States because of the persecution or fear of persecution they are faced with. Immigrants who have suffered abuse or mistreatment based on their nationality, political opinions, social group membership, religion or race may be eligible to seek asylum in this country
While some of these people will consider applying for asylum soon after they enter the country, there are many others who do not. Those who do not may not understand what options they have or they may not think it is necessary. For the people who did not proactively apply for asylum or were deemed ineligible, it can be crucial to understand that they still have the option of filing a defensive application for asylum.
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, many of the people for whom a defensive application would be appropriate are those already facing the possibility of removal from the U.S. This includes people who are stopped trying to enter the country without permission and those who have been identified as immigrants living in the U.S. without documentation. In either of these cases, a person would be facing a removal court hearing and may be able to apply for asylum.
During the proceedings to determine eligibility, both parties -- the individual and the federal government -- will present their cases to a judge. This judge will then make a ruling on whether asylum will be granted or not. While the ruling can be appealed, it is generally imperative to secure asylum at this point. Otherwise a person could be faced with more legal proceedings and further delays.
The stakes of filing for asylum can be quite high. A successful application could save a person's life, while a failed attempt could result in a person being sent back to a dangerous and frightening environment. That is why it can be crucial to approach this situation seriously and with as much support as possible. Working with an attorney during this process can provide asylum seekers with information and confidence as they navigate this complicated system.