Immigrants in California attempting to secure residency status for other family members living in countries with significant violence or political strife face two different types of asylum processes: affirmative and defensive. Affirmative is the easier of the two, yet immigrants going through the defensive process still have a chance to reside in the United States legally if they properly follow requirements for court appearances set forth by the Office for Immigration Review.
What is affirmative asylum?
Affirmative asylum is the process by which immigrants apply to stay in the United States after they have entered the country legally. Applicants must start the process within one year of entering the country, fill out Form I-589 Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, and submit the paperwork to the EOIR. Applicants can live but not work in the country while their status is under review.
What is defensive asylum?
Defensive asylum occurs when someone requests asylum to prevent removal from the United States. This process occurs when an applicant has initially been refused by the EOIC in the positive process, has been apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol trying to enter the country without proper documentation or has been found in violation of their immigration status.
Navigating the difference
The biggest difference in the process is that immigrants in the affirmative asylum process have not been placed in removal proceedings. These individuals also have to obtain their own interpreter for court proceedings whereas the court assigns an interpreter for defensive asylum proceedings.
Whatever type of asylum process you or your family members go through, properly following the requirements is key to a successful application. Immigration attorneys experienced in the asylum process may help ensure that you follow the process and fill out all needed paperwork to increase your chances of obtaining asylum.