Basics of an Asylum Claim (Part 2)

Author: Joseph P. Murphy, Esq., Allegheny Immigration Group

Release Date: 12/25/2019 (YouTube)

Author’s Statement:

This is part 2 of a transcription of my video on asylum which you can see here. If you or someone you care about is, or is in contact with someone who may have a legitimate asylum claim, please call my office at (412)521-2000 or my cell at (412)973-3442. You can also email me at Please visit, like and share the Allegheny Immigration Group Facebook page and the Allegheny Immigration Group Youtube Channel.

Who Qualifies for Asylum?

This is someone who’s subject to persecution in their home country on accord of membership of a protected group or class. There are four types of groups or classes that are entitled to protection- race, religion, political opinion or social group. The application is normally filed within one year. Applications that are filed after one year are generally disqualified. However, there is an exception of the one year rule condition if the home country has changed where the applicant for asylum has a credible fear that if he or she is sent back or forced to go back there and would be subjected to persecution. There is another situation where the home country is as same as it has always been but the applicant for asylum has changed while they are here, so it’s the same country. For example, imagine some country in Central Europe that is known to persecute homosexuals.. Now, someone from that country comes to the United States for college and find themselves in a same-sex relationship or as gay. Now, in this case, the home country is still the same whereas the person has changed. Hence, the application should be sent in one year. Or the home country will be able to persecute the person who has changed.

What is Persecution?

“Persecution” means to be treated badly. Governments all over the world persecute people and that is legitimate persecution. They can make people pay taxes. They can put criminals in jail. They can even draft people into the military who even don’t want to be there. This is not the kind of persecution that will satisfy the standards of asylum. The persecution must be on account of. They have to pick on someone particular, some groups, race, religion and political opinion or social group. For example, putting a criminal in jail is a legitimate persecution. But if a government decides that people of a particular religion are criminals then that is projected persecution under the asylum law.

Making a claim can be simple or can be difficult. There is an application form that you have to fill up and to get it filed and you get a little form back pretty quickly that says you filed. At that point you are an applicant for the asylum, you got a status, you can’t be deported or forced to leave the country while that application is pending.

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Joe represented me on an asylum case in San Francisco. They day I met him he took out a business card and wrote his personal cell phone number on the back. He told me to feel free to call or text any time I wanted to. I tried it and he wasn't kidding. That sort of concierge style lawyering was a real joy. S.K.
Right after the repeal of DOMA, Joe represented me and my partner on one of Pennsylvania's first immigration cases based on same sex marriage. It was new at the time, and we weren't really sure it would work, Joe reassured us and explained how and why I had the right to file for a green card for my partner - and he made every word he told me come true. The green card was issued about 5 months later. M.M.