Definition of Asylee

An asylee is a refugee who is in the U.S. or at a border or port of entry. Generally, a refugee is a person no longer in her country of nationality who because of a “well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion” cannot return to that country and cannot avail herself of the protections of that country. INA §101(a)(42)(A).

Government Unable/Unwilling to Control Persecutors

To qualify as an asylee, the applicant must show the she cannot avail herself of the protections of the country of persecution. To meet this requirement, it must be shown that the government or person the government is unable/unwilling to control are the ones inflicting the persecution.

On Account of Race, Religion, National Origin, Political Opinion or Membership in a Particular Social Group

The applicant must show that the persecution is on account of one of the 5 enumerated protected groups above. The focus is not on the persecutors subjective intent in inflicting the persecution, but rather the objective persecution.

Past-Persecution Claims

There is a presumption in favor of possession of a well-founded fear of persecution if the applicant establishes past-persecution claims. This presumption can be overcome by DHS if they can show a fundamental change in applicant’s circumstances.

Well-Founded Fear Claims

Actually having suffered persecution is not required for asylum. The applicant must show that a reasonable person in his/her position would fear persecution. The applicant need not show that he/she is being singled out for persecution, if it can be shown that people similarly situated are experiencing a pattern or practice of persecution.

Mandatory Denial of Asylum

Congress has mandated that the following are not eligible for asylum:

  • Persecution of Others
  • Commission of Serious Crimes
  • Commission of Serious Nonpolitical Crime
  • Danger to U.S. Security
  • Terrorism
  • Firm Resettlement in another Country prior to U.S. arrival
  • Previous Asylum Denial application (with no changed circumstances)
  • One year bar (no asylum application submitted within one year of arrival)