Basics of an Asylum Claim (Part 3)

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

Release Date: 12/25/2019 (YouTube)

Author’s Statement:

This is part 3 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.

Chop Shops and Hustlers

On that note, filing an asylum claim can be more than just filling up a paper. There are enough warnings about this in my other videos. There are asylum chop shops or puppy mills or whatever you want to call them. These are asylum hustler and they will prey on vulnerable communities here, like kids who came here for summer work and learn program, people who just don’t want to go back, people who don’t want to stay here, people don’t want to try. Sometimes they will charge them a fee, not very much, a thousand or two thousand bucks. But, all these people do is fill out a form. This is very dangerous. This cannot only result you in not getting asylum, it can result in you are not being allowed to stay in the United States, you are not being allowed back in the United States and in extreme cases, it can result in being imprisoned. When you file an asylum claim, you have to sign a box that discloses the very serious penalties for filling a fraudulent asylum claim. A lot of these puppy mills do in fact file a lot of fraudulent asylum claims for you. There is no supporting documentation. There is no evidence. There is nothing. At some point in the future, you will be called down for an asylum interview and in the application, there is nothing there and you are not prepared, it’s a disaster. So, I really caution people against these puppy mills. It can be so hard to identify these groups. They will be very charismatic, might speak your language, can be your neighbor and even a citizen. They will be preying on his or hers own people.

I have enlisted little ways of identifying these people, like red flags that you will need to look for while dealing with asylum hustlers.

  • The first one is, they are not a lawyer. Unless they are some charitable organization, doing it for free, it should be a lawyer that could be a church and a community-based organization. It shouldn’t be some person at large collecting a fee to fill the asylum forms that’s illegal.
  • If you don’t know this person’s full name, if you don’t know where they live, or work, or their phone number, these are ultimately red flags. If these people are involved in these immigration schemes or asylum hustlers, they genuinely won’t want you to know their full name or where they live or their phone number. It is because you might report them when you get into trouble.
  • Another classic red flag is that they won’t sign the application. They won’t sign because they don’t want their names dragged in front of the authorities. They only want your name to be in front of the authority. And when the application blows up in your face, they want you to be left holding the back.

So watch out for those asylum chopshops and asylum hustlers, they do prey on communities and this is really unfortunate. It is very difficult for people like me. And is expensive to find and hire people like me to undo it later. When it’s true that prevention is better than the cure, I strongly advise you if you need to find and hire someone to file an asylum application, hire a lawyer, ideally a member of AILA, American Immigration Lawyer Association, which I am a member of and lots of other people are. If you really need to file for asylum and you really can’t afford it, any half-decent lawyer would refer you to charitable organizations. They can do the work and even have volunteer lawyers on staff. And again, there is no need to deal with these chopshops.

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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.