San Francisco Bay Area Immigration Attorneys for Convention Against Torture and Asylum relief.
Did you know that even if asylum is denied, and even if withholding of removal is not an option, that you might still be eligible to stay in the United States under the Convention Against Torture.
International law (the US Convention Against Torture) was signed into law and is the most important international law on the topic of torture. One of it’s central provisions is that a government cannot deport a person to a country if that person is more likely than not to be “tortured.”
But what is “torture” under US law?
The regulations define torture as follows:
Torture is defined as any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or her or a third person information or a confession, punishing him or her for an act he or she or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or her or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.
See 8 C.F.R.§ 208.18 Implementation of the Convention Against Torture, (the underlines added).
Based on this definition, I have divided the elements of a CAT claim into the following elements:
- Severe pain or suffering
- Physical or mental
- Intentionally inflicted
- For specific purpose:
- To obtain information or a confession
- To punish
- To intimidate or coerce
- To discriminate
- By State Actor
- “at the instigation of, or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.”
Please see my video here explaining this in more detail!
To win CAT relief, you need to submit an I-589 (application for asylum, withholding of removal and relief under CAT), and you need to argue before the government that you are “more likely than not” to suffer torture if you were deported or removed to your home country. Depending on where you are in the process, you will likely have to argue this in front of an immigration judge, sometimes even while you are detained.
CAT relief can be available even when Asylum and Withholding of Removal are not. For example, if you cannot show that you will be persecuted on account of your political opinion or one of the other protected grounds for asylum, but if you can show that the level of harm will amount to torture as defined above, you can still win your case.
What happens when you win CAT?
Basically, you still get ordered deported on paper, but the order is said to be “subject to” a grant of Convention Against Torture relief – so it cannot be executed (unless your fear of torture goes away, for example if the country conditions improve in your home country). So, if you win CAT, you will not be eligible for a green card, nor to travel, nor to petition for family members. However, you are allowed to stay in the United States and allowed to get a renewable work permit.
Get help on your case.
CAT cases are serious, and I do not recommend doing them on your own. Please seek an expert immigration lawyer to give you the best chances possible. Feel free to contact or call our office at 510-488-1020 to see how our team can help!