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The difference between asylum and refugee status

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2020 | Uncategorized |

In many senses, refugees and those seeking asylum in the United States are the same. They are often fleeing from persecution and the very real threat of physical harm or death, which could come because of war, religious persecution, racial issues and more. They come from a country where they feel unsafe and they want to stay in the United States so that they can be protected. Many are also looking out for children or other family members and trying to make a better life for them, though some are alone.

The big difference is just where they are at the time. If the person is at a port of entry and trying to get into the United States, or if they are already in the country, then they are an asylee. Technically, they check all the refugee boxes, but their location makes it so that they’re not going to go through a typical refugee experience.

A refugee, on the other hand, is someone who is not yet in the United States but wants to come there. For instance, many have fled their home countries and begun living in refugee camps in other countries. These are not the places they want to stay, but they may be the only places they could travel to on foot, given their transportation limitations. From the camp, they request refugee status, and if granted, they may be flown to the United States to enter the country from that external location.

As you can see, while there are some massive differences here, both refugees and asylees have similar concerns. It’s important for them to know what steps to take.