Demonstrating Persecution for an Asylum Application

When applying for asylum every applicant must prove they were persecuted or reasonably fear of being persecuted in the future should they return to their home country.

Why is it Very Important to Show You Were Persecuted Back Home?

Throughout the years several asylum seekers have filed fraudulent applications for asylum along with false documentation and the U.S. authorities have been very aware of such instances. So, although the plight of many individuals fleeing persecution from their home country can be understandable, immigration officers are keen on applicants with made-up stories. When presenting your side of the story you must be ready to answer questions and present strong evidence to support your statements.

In your declaration you cannot simply say, “I was persecuted” or “I’m afraid to return to my home country because I will be persecuted” and expect the right to remain in the U.S. as an asylee. Your statement of why you are afraid should be supported by documents that can attest to your fears of torture and even possible death if you return to your home country.

Protecting One’s Mental Health During the Asylum Process is Essential

Bringing up painful past experiences of things like threats, persecution and torture will not be an easy task. Every applicant must realize that extra self-care or professional help may be required when remembering several details. Unfortunately, disclosing those details are a very important part of the asylum application process. The more that was suffered at the hands of the perpetrator(s) the stronger a case will be. It is vital that during interviews or proceedings to not hesitate to explain to the attorney, USCIS officer, or judge that you need a break or some moments to compose yourself.

If you are a woman and feel quite uncomfortable talking about certain elements of persecution in front of a male officer, you can request a female asylum officer for your USCIS interview. If the matter goes to immigration court, however, you cannot ask for a female immigration judge. You will be very fortunate if a female immigration judge is assigned to your asylum case.

Getting a written evaluation from a clinical psychologist or medical specialist will help to show that you suffer other medical or psychological stresses due to the torture or persecution you underwent in your country. The doctor might also be able to explain why you appear hesitant or shy when presenting your story.

Preparing Substantiating Evidence of Persecution

Based on the 2005 REAL ID Act, asylum seekers are required to at least attempt to obtain corroborating evidence of persecution. (See 8 U.S.C. § 1158). The ideal, of course, is personal documentation. Say for example, the applicant received a threatening letter, has photos of the persecution or can supply copies of doctor’s reports (from his or her home country) detailing the entire incident or newspaper articles that prove something you experienced; all these would be excellent for the asylum application.

Majority of applicants, however, must provide less direct evidence. For example, a person who was persecuted as a union member might provide a copy of a membership card plus independent accounts of the persecution faced by other members of that union.

An acceptable asylum application is accompanied by an appropriate amount of supporting documents such as:

  • Newspaper clippings
  • Human rights reports from independent agencies or watchdog groups
  • Police report
  • Photographs
  • And more documents all containing information about the types of human rights violation being described in the applicant’s statement.

For instance, if a foreign national fled his or her country because local government officials were threatening with imprisonment because the foreigner sent a letter to the newspaper editor protesting a political matter. The asylum applicant will need to provide evidence that others who expressed similar political opinions have been imprisoned or threatened with prison. A copy of the newspaper printing of the letter will be required.

Permanent physical damage or psychological scars can also help an asylum seeker’s case. Visiting with a doctor in the U.S. and getting a report assessing what the doctor believes happened will be helpful to the case. While these are just a few examples in getting substantial evidence it is good to note that every case is different and so will the information.

Hire an Immigration Attorney

Completing an application for asylum and preparing to testify can be quite challenging. For successful results retain the services of an expert immigration lawyer nearest your region. Contact Gambacorta Law Office at 847 443 9303 for a consultation to see if you are eligible for asylum.