Saturday, February 06, 2016
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Issues: Refugees & Asylees


Refugee and Asylee status are granted by the United States government to those who fit the definition of "Refugee":

INA §101(a)42  The term "refugee" means:

(A) any person who is outside any country of such person's nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, is outside any country in which such person last habitually resided, and who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of, that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion,

While this definition applies to both refugees and asylees, the two are not exactly alike.  A person may only seek referral for refugee status from outside the United States, but apply for asylum while already within United States borders or seeking admission at a port of entry.  People seeking to obtain asylum status can apply two ways:

  • An Affirmative application is made by submitting Form I-589 to US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  • A Defensive application is made by submitting the same form in immigration court to the immigration judge.

Denial of an affirmative application does not prohibit one from submitting a defensive application in court.