Asylees and refugees are permitted into Colorado and the U.S. due to the fact that such a person will suffer or has suffered from past persecution in their home country based on one of these five grounds: political opinion, social group, religion, nationality, and race/ethnicity. Millions of people have been displaced in the world due to violence, oppression, and war, but unfortunately, these major types of events may not necessarily translate into an asylum claim unless the person claiming asylum was persecuted on one of the five enumerated grounds.
Being granted asylee status can only occur in the United States—whether the person is in removal proceedings or not or at the border or interior of the country. An asylee must file an application within one year of entry to be eligible for asylum with only a few exceptions permitted. Eligibility for asylum can be fairly complicated and discussion of the facts of your case with an immigration attorney is most recommended. Once granted asylee status, a person is in a legal indefinite status and will be eligible to adjust to legal permanent residence one year after becoming an asylee.
A refugee must meet the same definitional requirements as an asylee but the major difference is that refugees have their status evaluated and determined abroad by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It can take years for a person and their families to qualify as refugees abroad, but once a person enters the U.S. as a refugee, they are in a legal indefinite status. They are eligible to apply for legal permanent residence one year after entry.
Both asylee and refugee families can immediately join the principal asylee or refugee if they are a spouse or child at the time the principal applicant’s status was determined. They also can follow-to-join later on. They are referred to as derivative asylees or refugees. A child is defined as under 21 and unmarried. There are now protections in place to “freeze” a child’s age so even those older than 21 will qualify, but marriage will still disqualify a child from coming with a parent as a derivative refugee or asylee.
If you wish to file for asylum in Colorado, contact Denver immigration lawyer Catherine Brown, to schedule a consultation. Contact us online or call us at 303-322-2117.