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Asylum / TPS

Refugees and Asylees

A person who is not a United States citizen but who is in the United States is eligible for a grant of asylum if she or he qualifies as a refugee. Generally, a refugee is a person who demonstrates persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of that person's race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The persecution may be at the hands of the government of the person's country, or at the hands of those whom the government cannot or will not control.

What is the difference between a refugee and an asylee?

Refugees and asylees are people seeking protection in the U.S. on the ground that they fear persecution in their homeland. A refugee applies for protection while outside the United States. An asylee differs from a refugee because the person first comes to the United States and, once here, applies for protection. Refugees generally apply in refugee camps or at designated processing sites outside their home countries. In some instances, refugees may apply for protection within their home countries, such as in Cuba, and Vietnam. If accepted as a refugee, the person is sent to the U.S. and receives assistance through the “refugee resettlement program”.

What is a Well-Founded Fear of Persecution

An asylum applicant must establish that she was persecuted or that she actually fears persecution (subjective belief) on account of one of the five grounds, and that a reasonable person in the applicant's position would also fear persecution (objective standard) on account of one of the five grounds. "Persecution" means "a threat to the life or freedom of, or the infliction of suffering or harm upon, those who differ in a way regarded as offensive."

Past Persecution and Well Founded Fear of Persecution and Countrywide Persecution

A person can qualify for asylum either on the basis of past persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution or a combination of both. Generally, a finding of past persecution results in a presumption of a well-founded fear of persecution.