Asylum and Other Relief for Immigrant
Victims of Violence and Persecution
The United States (US) is the largest recipient of asylum claims among industrialized nations. Victims of persecution and torture who come to the US may apply for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the UN Convention against Torture (CAT) in order to remain in the US legally and avoid removal to countries where they may be harmed. In addition, US law provides several forms of immigration relief for immigrants in the US who have been victims of crime and human trafficking, and for unaccompanied children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by their parents.
US law allows foreign nationals who have been persecuted in their country of origin, or who fear future persecution, to apply for protection in the US in the form of asylum. A refugee is an individual who is outside of his or her country of origin or last habitual residence and who – because of a “well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion” – is unable or unwilling to return to that country and is unable or unwilling to avail him or herself of the protection of that country. In order to file an asylum claim, a refugee must be physically present in the US interior or at any port of entry (for example, an airport, land, or sea border).