The United States was built by immigrants, from the very first pilgrims and explorers. Many of the first immigrants came from Europe to escape religious and political intolerance or to seek new opportunities. Between 1870 and 1930, an estimated 30 million immigrants entered the United States, and the United States absorbed 60% of the world’s immigrants between 1820 and 1930.
Many immigrants come to the United States seeking asylum or protection from persecution due to religion, political beliefs, race or nationality, or membership in specific social groups. There is no cost to apply for asylum, though the paperwork should be filed within the first year of residency in the United States.
Immigrants applying for asylum may not apply for work authorization at the same time they apply for asylum. If 150 days have passed since the paperwork was filed and no decision has been made about their status, the immigrant can then apply for work authorization. If the asylum has been approved, the asylee will automatically receive work authorization.
One year after asylum has been granted, the asylee may apply for an adjustment of status and attempt to obtain a green card. Because green card complications are fairly common, it may be in the asylee’s best interest to consult with immigration lawyers. The best immigration lawyers will be able to prevent errors in paperwork that could preclude the granting of a green card.
Once asylum has been granted, an asylee has two years to petition to bring their family to the United States, barring humanitarian reasons that may extend the deadline. Any children included on the application must be unmarried and under 21 years of age. As with the original asylum application, there is no fee to file a petition to bring one’s spouse and children to the United States.
United States immigration laws can be complicated, but with assistance from an immigration attorney, they can be navigated.