The U.S. immigration system allows individuals from other countries who qualify as refugees to lawfully enter the United States. There is a difference between refugees and asylum seekers.
While asylum may be sought after an individual is classified as a refugee, refugees are individuals outside the United States who wish to enter the country, while asylum seekers are individuals who have already entered the country, lawfully or unlawfully. It is important to understand what qualifies someone as a refugee and what does not.
Under U.S. immigration law, there are several requirements that must be met to obtain refugee status. An individual must reside outside of the United States and not yet resettled in any other country. The following additional requirements must be met:
- The individual must be of a special humanitarian concern to the United States.
- They must be admissible to the United States.
- They must demonstrate that they were persecuted or have a fear of persecution in their country due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or a particular social group membership.
Refugee status may be denied if it is shown that an individual assisted, ordered, incited or even participated in the above-referenced persecution of any person. Essentially, to be classified as a refugee, the individual must be a victim of persecution who has never participated in persecuting others for the same reasons.
Proving all those requirements to be deemed a refugee who is eligible for asylum can be challenging. It is important to have a clear and thorough understanding of immigration law and how to prove refugee status using these requirements. A simple mistake due to misunderstanding what is necessary can result in refugee status being denied.