Applying for asylum is one of several ways in which the US offers protections for international citizens living in Texas who have a credible fear of persecution in their native countries. The process can be lengthy and complex, however.
Though asylum is free, it is not charity. The need for asylum protections must be documented. Applicable entitlements to relief are for persecutions due to: 1) race; 2) religion; 3) nationality; 4) political persuasion; and 5) membership in a group at odds with the government. There are other situations where protections can be sought on a case-by-case basis.
The asylum seeker (AS) must start the application process within one year of arrival in the US. He must be physically present in the US to file an I-589, the Application for Asylum, and for Withholding of Removal. A personal statement detailing the persecution or fear thereof is to be included along with all supporting evidence to substantiate your claim, then mailed to the USCIS.
Once your application has been received, you will get a receipt notifying you of the same along with a biometric appointment requiring you to be fingerprinted, photographed, and to provide a signature. Next comes the interview with the AS and derivative family members which the USCIS will schedule. This is one of the most important aspects of seeking asylum, and the officer will make a determination as to whether or not your request is valid. When a decision is made, you will get a notice of approval or one of denial.
The long journey to citizenship
If your request is denied, the case will be referred to an immigration court to begin removal proceedings. Once the case arrives in immigration court, you will receive a notice of two hearings: A master calendar hearing and an individual one. During the hearing, you or your attorney will present your case to a judge, along with supporting evidence, in much the same way you did with the immigration officer. If you have additional evidence, or expert testimony, or newspaper articles supporting your claim, this is the time to present it. After your presentation is completed, the judge will render a decision or take additional time to process the information to make a judgment.
Though the process is not simple, thousands of green-card holders in the US are proof that the system is a refuge for those who qualify.