What is asylum?
Asylum is a protection granted to foreign nationals who are already in the United States or at its border, who meet the international legal definition of a refugee. The UN Convention of 1951 and Protocol of 1967 defines a refugee as a person who is unable or unwilling to return to their home country, who cannot obtain protection in their home country, due to past persecution or well-founded fear of persecution in the future on the basis of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
What you should know
It is important to note that
(1) asylum requests MUST be done within ONE YEAR of entering the United States.
(2) It is important to have legal representation for asylum cases. Petitions made through self-representation have 15% chance of winning their petition.
(3) If you are not able to obtain legal representation due to the expense, you may seek assistance from organizations such as:
Work Permits and Asylum
Asylum applicants can not apply for work authorization at the same time as they submit their I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. Applicants may apply for Work Authorization after 150 days have passed with no resolution to their case. The delay to the case must not be caused by the applicant i.e. applicant rescheduling interviews, etc. However, as of January 29, 2018, the USCIS has adopted a First in First Out practices in scheduling asylum interviews. This means that the most recent asylum applications will be heard first while, applicants that have filed prior will be scheduled last. This practice aims to deter frivolous asylum applications for the sole purpose of obtaining employment authorization.