What is the Difference Between Asylum and Withholding of Removal?

What is the Difference Between Asylum and Withholding of Removal?

While both asylum and withholding of removal are potential defenses to deportation, there are some significant differences between the two forms of relief. Let’s start with the similarities first. Asylum and Withholding of Removal are both applied for on the form I-589. They both state that the applicant is afraid for his or her life to return to his or her home country and they are both forms of protection against deportation. Additionally, they both require a showing that the persecution or harm the applicant fears is on account of one of the following grounds:
  • Race
  • Nationality
  • Religion
  • Membership in a particular social group
  • Political opinion
Now for the differences: Difference # 1: The benefits. Asylum is better than Withholding of Removal! If you are granted asylum, any of your family members who are in the United States and whom you included in your asylum application also may be granted asylum. If you have been granted asylum and you have eligible family members who are not in the United States, you also can file a petition to bring them to the United States. After a certain period of time, individuals who have been granted asylum can apply for lawful permanent residence, and, later, citizenship. On the other hand, withholding of removal is available to those individuals who can establish that being removed to the proposed countries would “more likely than not” result in persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. However, it is important to keep in mind that the individual still can be removed to a third country if doing so would not threatened his or her life or freedom. Additionally, unlike asylum, withholding of removal does not provide any relief for an eligible individual’s family members, whether they are in the United States or in another country. Those who receive withholding of removal relief also do not become eligible for lawful permanent residence or citizenship. However, an individual who is granted withholding of removal can apply for work authorization in the United States. Difference # 2: The one year filing deadline. To be eligible for the asylum benefits above, you must file your case within the time limit of one year. There are certain exceptions to the one year bar, so please feel free to contact a lawyer to discuss those. But if you are afraid for your life to return to your home country, please submit your application within your first year in the US. Withholding of Removal, on the other hand, does not have any filing deadline. Difference # 3: The Standard. Asylum is easier to prove than Withholding of Removal. Asylum requires a showing of a “well founded fear” of persecution, which is defined as a 10% likelihood of persecution, while Withholding of Removal requires a showing that it is “more likely than not” (or greater than 50%) that that the applicant would be subjected to persecution. The California immigration attorneys at Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., are dedicated to defending those who are facing removal from the United States, no matter your circumstances. Since we focus our efforts solely on deportation defense law, we have the knowledge and experience necessary to efficiently and effectively evaluate the facts of your situation, present your various options, and build a strong defense on your behalf. Asylum and withholding of removal are only two of the defenses that are potentially available to you in your removal proceedings. Make an appointment with your California deportation defense attorneys and learn how we can assist you with your case.
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