Articles Posted in Asylum

A television show from the 2000s and ‘10s bore the title What Not to Wear, and featured men and women who had made many purported fashion “mistakes.” Court rulings sometimes educate readers in a broadly similar way, cautioning them about “what not to do” in legal actions. One way to minimize the mistakes that can damage or destroy your asylum case is to work with an experienced Maryland asylum lawyer, who will help you ensure your case has what it needs, and that it avoids the missteps that often derail asylum applications.

A recent cautionary opinion came from an asylum case in the federal 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the Carolinas. The asylum seekers — a couple and their minor child — came from El Salvador and alleged that they would face severe persecution from the MS-13 gang if U.S. authorities returned them to their native country.

Specifically, the couple asserted that their relative, Guadalupe, was the ex-girlfriend of Francisco, a local MS-13 gang leader. 12 days before their asylum hearing, the couple submitted affidavits that asserted that the family was unsure of Guadalupe’s whereabouts and “always believed that she has been taken by MS-13 gang members.” They also alleged that “no one knows where she went. She just disappeared. She may have been taken by the gang members.”

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The effects of an unsuccessful asylum application can be catastrophic. It can mean being uprooted from your home and your family, being sent to a country you’ve never known as home, and possibly a place where you may find yourself to be a target for hate and violence. For these reasons and more, you must put forward the strongest asylum application possible. Statistics show that asylum applicants with attorney representation are six more likely to succeed than those without, so don’t delay retaining an experienced Maryland asylum lawyer to assist you.

Membership in any collection of people that U.S. immigration law recognizes as a “particular social group” can be essential to a successful asylum application. You can qualify for asylum if you are a member of one or more of these groups and you present proof that, if you are returned to your home country, you either (a) have a reasonable fear of harm or (b) a history of past harm as a result of your membership in the group.

To succeed on this basis, you need the right social group undergirding your application. Simply asserting, for example, “Honduran females” as your group will almost certainly be deemed too broad. An overly broad group will doom your application and leave you subject to deportation, as was the case with one California man recently.

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Back in July, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling overturning a removal order in the case of a Salvadoran woman and her minor son. The ruling in favor of the asylum applicant represents just the latest in a series of appellate and Supreme Court rulings related to defective immigration notices, and points out how even very technical defects in the notices to appear the government issues may eventually help applicants avoid removal. Success in these matters often requires in-depth knowledge of the law and the procedural requirements, which is why you should definitely consult with an experienced Maryland deportation defense lawyer about your situation.

The applicant, A.A.L.-G., and her minor son entered to the United States from El Salvador without authorization. Immigration authorities detained them in Texas. At that time, the mother told a federal asylum officer that gang members in El Salvador had threated to rape her and kill her son as a result of her refusal to cooperate with the gang. The officer believed that the mother was credible and referred her case.

A few weeks later, in late May 2019, the government served a “notice to appear” before an immigration judge. In the space where the date and time of hearing should have appeared, the form said simply “TBD,” which would seem to mean “to be determined.”

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If you need to seek asylum in the United States, you may understand that you need to complete the legal process of applying for asylum and that a skilled Maryland immigration attorney can help you achieve a successful result on that application. What you may not know, however, is that this step involves more than hiring any attorney. To best protect yourself and give yourself the maximum chance of a successful outcome, you need to best you’re selecting not just an attorney but rather the right attorney.

Attorney misconduct is harmful to any client victimized by it. However, some clients bear an especially high risk. For asylum applicants, competent representation is especially crucial, as (much like some criminal defendants) the difference between success and failure may literally be a matter of life and death.

The harrowing story of one Cameroonian man who narrowly avoided deportation is an example of exactly this.

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The United States military action in Afghanistan began in the weeks following the September 11th attacks and spanned for nearly two decades. During that time, many citizens of that country (and surrounding states like Pakistan) aided coalition forces’ efforts. When U.S. forces left and the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan in 2021, the changes placed those allies in grave danger. As a result, many of them may now qualify for asylum in the U.S. However, like with any asylum application, the process can be complicated and difficult, making the services of an experienced Maryland asylum lawyer especially important.

One such ally (and eventual asylum applicant)  was S.U., a Pakistani businessman who sold supplies to coalition forces. After the Taliban regained the reigns of power in 2021, they threatened to kill him if he did not pay them exorbitant sums of money. The businessman refused and, as a result, lost “his business, home, and nearly his life.” Fearing imminent death, he fled to the United States.

His asylum case is an example of how challenging the process can be. Despite his evidence of past persecution from the Taliban, immigration authorities concluded that the man didn’t qualify for asylum. The evidence showed that the man lived in a rural part of northwestern Pakistan situated on the Afghan border, that his business sold vehicles and tires to coalition forces during the war and, as a result, the Taliban threatened to kill him unless he paid the equivalent of nearly 1 million (USD).

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LGBTQ+ people face many serious challenges. LGBTQ+ people in countries outside the U.S. often face especially dire risks, as being “outed” (or even just failing to conform to traditional gender norms) may place a person at risk of beatings, whippings, or even violent death. For those folks — both those who are LGBTQ+ or even those who are perceived to be — asylum may be a viable option. Achieving a favorable result in your asylum application is often an intricate and complicated process and one where it’s well worth your while to have an experienced Maryland asylum lawyer on your side.

In discrimination law, there exists something called “perceptive discrimination.” This refers to discrimination against workers (or job candidates) because they are perceived to be a member of a protected class. Discrimination because someone is an actual member of a protected group is illegal, but discrimination imposed because the employer believed the worker/applicant was a member of a protected class is just as illegal, even if the target, in fact, wasn’t a member of that group.

One place where perceptive discrimination comes up with some frequency is sexual orientation discrimination. The law recognizes that workers may not be punished because they’re gay — or because a decision-maker thought they were gay. Both situations are wrong, regardless of the target’s actual orientation.

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