Common Asylum Myths

Myth 1: Those seeking Asylum are just looking for an easy way into the United States without following proper immigration procedures.

Clarification: Seeking asylum is a legal process provided for the United States and international law. Asylum applicants must prove a credible fear of persecution in their home country based on the following criteria:

  • Race
  • Religious persecution
  • Nationality
  • Political opinion or
  • Membership to a particular social group

Myth 2: Asylum Seekers Are a Threat to National Security

Clarification: While security issues are taken seriously in the U.S. the vast majority of asylum seekers are escaping persecution and violence in their home countries. They go through exhaustive screening and background checks by the U.S. authorities before being granted asylum.

Myth 3: Individuals Seeking Asylum are Primarily Economic Migrants Pursuing Better Opportunities

Clarification: While economic factors may influence migration decisions for the majority of migrants, asylum seekers are distinct in that they are fleeing persecution and have a well-founded fear of harm if they return to their native countries. Persecution comes in various forms including:

  • Physical violence
  • Torture
  • Imprisonment
  • Threats
  • Harassment or
  • Other forms of harm that significantly harm or threaten a person’s life, liberty or physical integrity

Asylum is provided to individuals based on humanitarian grounds, not solely economic reasons.

Myth 4: Asylum Seekers Take Illegal Routes Into The U.S

Clarification: It is important to recognize that asylum is a legal pathway in the U.S. For several people facing persecution, violence or other forms of harm in their home countries; seeking asylum is often their only viable path to safety in the U.S.:

  • Due to restrictive immigration policies
  • Limited or no access to visas
  • The inability to apply for refugee resettlement within their home country or
  • The absence of family or
  • Employment ties that could facilitate entry through other channels

Myth 5: Asylum Seekers Obtain Rich Benefits and Live Off Tax Payer Money

Clarification: Asylum beneficiaries are not eligible for resettlement assistance nor do they qualify for most federal public benefits programs. Restricted assistance is given to them through non-profit organizations or government programs designed to support refugees and asylum seekers during the application process, but are generally quite vulnerable while awaiting determination of their status. Once granted asylum, individuals are expected to support themselves and contribute to society like any other lawful resident.

Myth 6: Asylum Seekers Take Advantage of the System and Fabricate Stories of Persecution Which Results in a High Percentage of Denials

Clarification: While the Asylum law is very complex it requires applicants to meet a number of legal thresholds to qualify for protection. People who arrive in the U.S. often face language barriers and have limited or no access to legal representation while going through the asylum process. Studies have shown that having legal counsel fighting for you majorly increases an asylum seeker’s changes of success in their asylum case. A report published by the American Immigration Counsel suggests that asylum seekers with legal assistance are more than five times as likely to be granted asylum in comparison to those without, suggesting that it is not the validity of an applicant’s well-founded fear of persecution that leads to denial of their case but rather their access or lack thereof to legal representation.

Retain The Services of an Immigration Attorney

It is in your best interest to hire an immigration lawyer to represent you when applying for asylum. You will have a higher chance of getting an approval. Gambacorta Law Office can be contacted at 847 443 9303 to schedule a consultation whether in-person, phone call or video conference call. Our attorneys are here to help you complete your application and review your fear of persecution.