Refugee status and asylum are both forms of relief that may be available for individuals who have been persecuted, or fear that they will be persecuted, on the basis of their race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion. However, there some basic differences between the two forms of relief for immigrants. Refugee status is only available to those immigrants who are outside of the United States and who have received a referral to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for consideration as a refugee. Eligible individuals must meet the definition of refugee under federal immigration law and be of special humanitarian concern to the U.S. Refugee status is solely for those individuals located outside of their native countries who are unable or unwilling to return home due to a fear of serious harm. Additionally, an immigrant seeking refugee status must be otherwise admissible to the U.S. and not firmly resettled in another country. Refugee status is not available to anyone who ordered, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of any person on the basis of race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion. Similarly, a person seeking asylum must meet the definition of refugee. Those individuals who are seeking asylum are already physically present in the U.S. or seeking admission at a port of entry. However, an individual can apply for asylum regardless of his or her country of origin or current immigration status. If the individual is eligible for asylum, then he or she may be able to remain in the U.S. An individual must apply for asylum within one year of his or her arrival in the U.S. If it has been 150 days since an immigrant applied for asylum and no decision has been made on the application, he or she can apply for employment authorization. Upon receiving approval of his or her application for asylum, the immigrant can immediately begin working. Whether refugee status, asylum, or another form of legal relief is appropriate, the deportation defense lawyers of Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C. have handled countless deportation defense claims on behalf of individuals who have been detained and charged with removal. We know how devastating it can be for individuals to be detained and separated from their families; even worse is the increased potential for sexual abuse while being held in immigration detention facilities. We care about you and your family, and we want to help you remain in the country. Call our office today to set up your legal consultation.