Basics of an Asylum Claim (Part 4)

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

Release Date: 12/25/2019 (YouTube)

Author’s Statement:

This is part 4 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 jmurphy@jmurphyfirm.com. Please visit, like and share the Allegheny Immigration Group Facebook page and the Allegheny Immigration Group Youtube Channel.

What Happens When You File One of These Applications?

Obviously, there can a whole bunch of fact patterns that could result in the filing of an asylum claim. For this, you have got four categories, race, religion, political opinion or social group in all the different countries in the world, so on and so forth. However, there are two big broad categories of asylum application types:-

  1. Affirmative applications, which are when someone gets in the county under no real threat from the United States. They come in lawfully and apply for asylum.
  2. Defensive Asylum Application, which is generally done when the person has entered the country legally and must have overstayed, or they might have entered illegally. Any number of things could have happened. And in such a situation, the United States is seeking to deport them, and for that the removal procedure, the legal name for a deportation case. This means that the government is seeking to remove the person so to speak. The person to be removed to the defendant. It is not really called an immigration law. However, in the middle of the case, the defendant might say even though you want me to be removed, you cannot as I am entitled to the asylum claim. So, asylum claims can be a defense. That is the reason it is called a defensive asylum claim.

We are not going to talk about that. Today, we are going to talk about affirmative asylum claims. My office is in Pittsburg. I practice in North East, Ohio and West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland. A lot of the cases I handle are affirmative cases and those are found with the Arlington Asylum Office which is down in the Suburbs of the Washington DC, a city called Arlington. The address is 3rd Floor, 1525, Wilson Boulevard. The building is a nice high tech building with all the updated features. Though there are email addresses, telephone numbers and fax addresses out there on the internet where you can supposedly call for a consultation, yet I could never reach them for a verbal consultation when I needed or faced problems. You can drive down there as the drive from Pittsburg is for four hours. Even if you have an afternoon hearing, visit there for consultation. I strongly recommend going by night and stay overnight as it is not wise to be tired of the whole drive during your hearing. There are various restaurants that you can find around, even if you are on a special diet. You can get the addresses from us. You can get halal, or kosher, and even gluten-free restaurants are around the corner.

There are stairs in front of the building. It is not certain whether the building is handicapped compliant or not. But you can get the elevator in the building that will take you directly to the floor where asylum hearing will take place. You will get to meet a lot of people out there, a lot of different language speaking people from their different countries, their interpreters, their lawyers, and family members, even kids. Since you have to stay for quite a few hours there, I strongly advise you to take some snacks with you. You can take iPads, cartoon books or something that will keep the kids busy. Try using the bathroom before you go up there as the bathroom is a mess. I wouldn’t tell you what exactly comes in my mind for describing it, but the state is shocking. In short, prepare for a day when going there. There will be a time printed on your notice. There can come up around 730 cases. Everybody generally forms a line against the wall in the room. You will have to go to different service windows and you will be given pecking orders. You will also get an oath form there. But don’t sign it right away. The asylum lawyer who will interview you will need to see you sign there.

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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.