What does Asylum mean?
Asylum is protection offered to an asylee by the United States government. The United States may grant asylum for a variety of reasons including potential prosecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, and/or political opinion. Generally, the aslyee must prove they have either suffered persecution in the past or there is a well-grounded expectation of future persecution. Persecution can include the possibility of torture, killing, imprisonment, and physical attack.
The current U.S. asylum process was instituted with the Refugee Act of 1980, which revised the U.S. refugee policy implemented by the United Nations Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. Prior to the 1980 revisions, asylum refugees were generally allowed only from communist or other Middle Eastern countries. Unfortunately, although hundreds of thousands of people seek asylum in the United States, the process to get asylum can be complex and difficult to navigate.