Asylum Relief

“Our asylum practice emphasizes obtaining relief as a defense in removal (deportation) proceedings for aliens inside of the U.S. who have suffered from persecution in their home countries. In almost all cases, we file alyssum claims with the Immigration Service for our clients before the U.S.C.I.S. Asylum Office (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). However, if their claim is denied, they will be ordered into removal proceedings. This where we offer additional specialized services for our clients because we also are immigration court defense attorney. (You do not ave to find a new attorney to represent you in the Immigration Court.) For our clients, we bring new claims of asylum that are now heard again before the Immigration Judge. This means that our clients get ‘a second bite of the apple’ so to speak for their asylum claims to be granted. This is very important because we have found that Immigration Judges are much more likely to grant our clients’ claims than is the Immigration Service.”

Asylum law arose in reaction to the genocides committed during World War II. Since then, the United States has helped draft, sign and promote several multilateral treaties requiring countries to take in people fearing for their safety in their home countries. Through Article VI, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution, these treaties are the “supreme law of the land.” These critical treaties have enabled thousands of individuals and their families to escape unspeakable harm in their native countries and to thrive in the United States. We are particularly mindful of the pressures and attempts to limit asylum by the Trump Administration and DHS. That is why we have taken a lead in defending our clients in the Immigration Courts who, in some cases, have no other forms of relief and are depending upon us to avoid there permanent removal from the U.S. For them, going back to the life threatening dangers they face in their respective home countries is simple not an option. [Please see our Rating and Reviews in our website for the successes we have had in defending our clients in Asylum proceedings.]

Asylum can be broken down into three broad categories: 1) political asylum; 2) withholding or removal; 3) withholding of removal pursuant to the convention against torture. Each of these categories of asylum provide immigrants with an means of staying in the United States if they can prove they will be harmed in their home country. However, each category carries with his different burdens of proof, have specific qualifications, can “waive” certain criminal convictions, and provide different immigration benefits.

Political asylum is typical claimed by an individual upon entry into the United States. The requirements to be granted asylum are: 1) The application is filed within one year of entry to the U.S. 2) The applicant establishes past persecution or a well founded fear of future persecution in their home country on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. These claims, with some exception, and are most commonly adjudicated at the USCIS asylum office. Due to the amount of work we put into preparing our clients’ political asylum cases, we have a high rate of success at the asylum office. If an individual is denied asylum at the USCIS asylum interview, they will typically be referred to the immigration court. We enjoy a high success rate in immigration court as well. If the application is granted by the immigration judge ( IJ ), then the asylee will be granted relief and will be allowed to remain in the U.S.  A person granted asylum is entitled to obtain an employment authorization document ( E.A.D.) and can adjust status to permanent residency after one year of being granted asylum. Obtaining asylum relief is the easiest of the three forms of relief. 

The second type of relief which we file for our clients in removal proceedings is Withholding of Removal. This form of relief requires that the alien establish a well-founded fear of persecutiothat is more likely than not if returned to the client’s home country. The standard of proof for Withholding of Removal must be established by "clear and convincing evidence" which is a more difficult standard than the asylum standard discussed above. 

To be granted Withholding of Removal by an IJ, we take the lead in assisting our clients to demonstrate that the their lives or freedoms would be threatened in that country because of our clients’ race, nationality, religion, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The alien must:
1) have a fear of persecution
2) the fear must be reasonable
3) the persecution feared must be on account of one of the above listed five categories and
4) the alien must be unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of nationality because of his persecution or well founded fear of it. 

In the context of asylum relief, "Persecutionmeans: “A threat to the life or freedom of, or the infliction of suffering or harm upon, those who differ in a way regarded as offensive.” This includes confinement, torture, severe economic hardship, relegation to substandard dwellings, exclusion from institutions of higher learning, enforced social and civil inactivity, passport denial, constant surveillance, pressure to become an informer, and mental abuse or threats." Once Withholding of Removal is granted by an IJ , we then obtain for our clients work authorization (EAD ).

The third type of relief under the general asylum category is relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). This is the most difficult of the three to establish. In order to be granted relief under CAT by an immigration judge in removal proceedings, an alien must establish the likelihood of :
1) infliction of severe pain or suffering, either physicals or mental, not arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions and,
2) intentionally inflicted and by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. 

We encourage our clients to file (political) asylum claims within one year of entering the U.S. As previously noted, an asylum grant allows the alien to file for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident after one year while the other two forms of relief do not. Asylum relief in all three forms can be granted in cases even where the Asylee entered the U.S. without inspection. 

As experienced immigration defense attorneys, we will prepare your immigration court cases by establishing each of the required elements with competent evidence for the particular type of relief sought. For example, we assist in gathering evidence in our clients’ home countries to corroborate their credible fear(s) which provide the central foundations of their cases before USCIS and the immigration judges as to whether or not to grant you asylum relief.


E-mail: Stephen Eckdish, Esq. – seckdish@sfatty.com
Benjamin Hall, Esq.  – bhall@sfatty.com

649 Mission Street, 5th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105
Telephone: (415) 776-1633
Facsimile: (415) 974-6745
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