Refugees and Asylees

The United States ratified the UN Convention on Refugees and as a result, accepts refugees from abroad, and is also required to process the asylum claims of individuals within the United States or at ports of entry who fear return to their home countries. A refugee is defined as and individual who is:

  • unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of nationality

  • because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution

  • on account of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

See INA 101(a)(42). An asylee meets the definition of a refugee, but is either physically within the United States or seeking admission at a port of entry.

The various legal requirements for proving an individual meets the definition of a refugee are complex and the subject of substantial litigation, especially in recent years. Case law has evolved quickly, and for this reason, it is imperative that you seek the advice of an immigration attorney in order to determine if it is appropriate to file for asylum. Each element must be proven separately. Issues typically litigated include the definition of a "particular social group," whether past harm reaches the level of persecution, and whether an individual's fear is both objectively and subjectively reasonable, and thus, well-founded.

While in recent years the number of refugees being processed abroad has been cut substantially, individuals in the United States continue to require assistance in filing claims. Tedesco Legal, P.C. has experience filing both affirmative application for asylum as well as defensive applications in removal proceedings.