Immigration Law

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What is Asylum

Asylum is when the US government has decided to provide protection to individuals who can prove they will be in danger or face death by returning to their home country. There are stipulations one must prove before they will be considered.

What should a resident do if they are still waiting on a decision from the office of immigration regarding an older asylum application?

First, call customer service at 1-800-375-5283 to update and/or check on the status of your application. Next, you can visit to make an appointment to speak to an immigration officer in person. Another option would be to contact the U.S. Congressmen as most have staff dedicated to handling these issues. Hiring an immigration attorney to find out the status and push the case along may also be helpful.

If someone from Iran lives in the US and has an asylum approval, can they get their green card through the lottery system?

In most cases, if your rank number falls below the number listed in the visa bulletin, you may file an I-485 based on the DV lottery as long as you have not gone out of status before you applied for asylum. Since Iran is considered by the U.S. to be in Asia, the number would have to be 39,750 or below. If not, then you have to wait until September before being able to file the I-485.

How can a refugee get their pregnant spouse and child to the US and how long could it take?

The application for the status of a refugee is when a person outside the US applies to come in. Asylum is when you are already inside and you apply to stay. If you were granted the status of a refugee, depending on whether you were granted refugee status outside the U.S., or inside the U.S., you would need to apply for your spouse and children using form I-730. Processing could take about 6 or 7 months plus whatever time the U.S. Embassy or Consulate takes to process which could be another 1 to 3 months.

Can a 19-year-old illegal immigrant be adopted by an American citizen in California in order to stay here and work?

Usually, for a "child" to obtain a U.S. immigration benefit through an adoption, that child must be under 16 when the adoption is completed. The only exception is if it is a sibling that is adopting the child. In such cases, the child being adopted needs to be under 18 years of age.

If someone is considering hiring an undocumented worker as a live-in housekeeper/nanny, what are the risks to the employer?

There could be civil and criminal penalties for hiring illegal aliens. Sec. 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and 8 U.S.C. 1324a, makes it unlawful for any person to knowingly hire, recruit or refer for a fee any alien not authorized to work in USA. An employer that violates these laws can face the following penalties: 

• $250 to $2,000 fine for each unauthorized individual; 
• $2,000 to $5,000 for each employee if the employer has previously been in violation; or 
• $3,000 to $10,000 for each individual if the employer was subject to more than one cease and desist order. 

The employer could also be fined $100 to $1,000 for each individual "paperwork" violation. The criminal penalties for a pattern and practice violation can be up to $3,000 for each unauthorized alien, imprisonment up to six months, or both. 

Immigration and asylum laws can be tough to understand with a fine line of distinction. The legal distinctions between various immigration statuses can lead to misunderstanding of the law. In matters of immigration, t is always best to be well informed and clear of your legal standing. The Experts on JustAnswer can help asylum seekers get quick and affordable answers to their questions about immigration law.

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