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Asylum and withholding of removal: know the difference

| Dec 28, 2020 | immigration law

Immigration laws seem to be in a constant state of flux. Making matters worse is the fact that these immigration laws can be really confusing. Yet, those who don’t understand them can be at risk of losing their immigration status or even being removed from the country. That’s often the case when it comes to asylum claims as opposed to withholding of removal.

What’s the difference?

Asylum is a classification that is granted to those individuals who arrive in the U.S. and have been persecuted or have a real fear of persecution based on their race, nationality, religion, social affiliation, or political opinion. Asylum applications have to be submitted within a certain period of time. Those who are granted asylum are able to do a number of things they otherwise wouldn’t. For example, those who are granted asylum can petition to bring family members into the state. They are also able to legally work in the country and can even travel outside of the country if permission is granted. These individuals can even become citizens eventually.

Some people who arrive in the U.S. are ineligible to apply for asylum, though. In most instances, these individuals have failed to apply for asylum within one year of arrival. These individuals can still avoid deportation, though, if they are granted a withholding of their removal. To obtain that ruling from an immigration judge, an individual will have to show that it is more likely than not that they will be persecuted if returned to their country.

Even if successful in obtaining a withholding of removal, though, an individual still faces a lot of stressors. Essentially, this condition only temporarily halts deportation, which means that removal may be looming over an individual for some time to come. Also, there’s no path to citizenship for those who have their removal withheld, and their work ability might be limited.

Why it’s important for you

If you’re living and working in the U.S., then you want to do everything you can to protect your future and your family’s future. Even though you might not have any immigration issues right in front of you, you should still be proactive in protecting your interests. Otherwise, you might wait until it’s too late and miss out on the benefits you need and deserve. Fortunately, you don’t have to confront these confusing issues on your own. Instead, you can seek out help from a legal professional who is able to aggressively advocate on your behalf.