Charlotte Asylum Lawyer

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Charlotte Asylum Attorney

Some of the first European immigrants to America were fleeing persecution in their homeland. This nation has long been a place of refuge for those fleeing the harm that might befall them in their home nations.

While the subject of immigration has grown ever more contentious in recent years, the country does maintain policies that support the principle of offering protection to those needing to flee persecution. The process, though, is not as straightforward as one might hope and is under more scrutiny because of the potential of it being abused.

That, however, is not cause for despair. If those who do have a legitimate need for asylum are able to demonstrate that and clearly present it to the proper authorities, asylum still may be granted. The process, though, can be complex, and your odds of approval can be improved by working with someone with experience and knowledge of the procedures.

At Steven T. Meier, PLLC, our experience can be put to work on your behalf. We help our clients fight for freedom from the persecution they’re fleeing.

What Asylum Is?

In short, asylum in United States immigration law is an opportunity for those who are faced with persecution in their homeland to have a chance at a better life in the U.S. Asylum in the United States grants the person legal protection, and they are able to stay in the United States for a period of time.

After one year with “asylee” status, or having been granted asylum, they may petition for a green card, which can give them permanent resident status in the country. A green card holder can become a citizen through naturalization after four years.

What Asylum Lawyer Can Do for You?

An immigration lawyer can be invaluable to successfully seeking asylum in the United States. They can help with a variety of procedures, including:

Qualifying for Asylum

There is no cap on the number of people who may be granted asylum in the United States each year. However, those applying must be able to meet certain criteria, such as:

  • The applicant must fear that the government in their home country will persecute them.
  • Their persecution must have been inflicted by the government, or their government failed to prevent it.
  • Right-wing groups, left-wing groups, or political zealots within the government must be responsible.
  • The applicant must be targeted for one of:
    • Race
    • Religion
    • Political opinion
    • Nationality
    • Social group
  • The seeker must not be a security risk to the United States.
  • The applicant must not have committed any aggravated felonies or war crimes, which could indicate being a danger to U.S. society.

It will be important that you are able to convey in a clear manner the way in which you meet the criteria for asylum qualification. This is something that the legal team at Steven T. Meier, PLLC, will be able to assist applicants with.


The persecution that will be considered for granting asylum must be something serious in nature. Something that generally would fall into the category of harassment isn’t likely to qualify. While the harm done by the persecution doesn’t need to be physical, it does need to be targeted mistreatment and severe in nature. The persecution must also be perpetrated by your government, or it must be something that your government can’t, or won’t, intervene to stop. Some examples of persecution include:

  • Human rights violations – This includes a variety of offenses, up to genocide.
  • Unlawful detention – Actions could involve detention without due process, for political reasons, or for discriminatory reasons.
  • Physical violence – This could be in the form of beatings or assault, forced labor, invasive physical examinations, rape and sexual abuse, genital mutilation, forced sterilization or abortion, or other physical harm.
  • Mental, emotional, or psychological harm – This could involve intimidation, surveillance, violations of someone’s privacy, or forced participation in an activity that contradicts deeply held beliefs and convictions.
  • Economic harm or discrimination – Actions could include restrictions on employment opportunities, housing limitations, deliberately limiting a person’s access to food, or confiscating someone’s property.
  • Torture – This is often physical torture, but it could also be something like prolonged detention or measures meant to cause someone mental harm.
  • Threats of harm – Even without resulting in physical harm, persistent threats of harm can cause emotional or psychological damage.
  • Other forms – Things like not allowing a person to access education in a way that others could, coercing someone to work with the government or another institution, or denial of a passport could be considered persecution.


There are two different forms of asylum that someone seeking asylum in the United States can apply for:

  • Affirmative Asylum – This is applied for when the asylum seeker is already in the United States. Generally, it is better if you have a valid visa of some sort. Asylum seekers must submit their application within one year of their arrival in the United States. The process involves the submission of petition forms and an interview process. The information provided through these means will determine someone’s eligibility for asylum.
  • Defensive Asylum – Defensive asylum is the process used when someone is attempting to defend against deportation. This is often used when someone has been placed in removal proceedings. This involves a similar petition, but rather than going through the regular channels, it is submitted directly to an immigration court judge. After accepting the application, a time will be set for a hearing. At that hearing, your claim to asylum can be defended using testimony (your own and others) and evidence.

Your petitions for asylum must clearly explain the details of your situation and why you should be granted asylum in Charlotte, NC. Some of the things it must include are:

  • A description of the persecution you expect to encounter when returning to your homeland
  • Why you believe that you will be persecuted in that manner
  • Information on who is responsible for the persecution you expect to receive (often the military or some government institution, although it could also be someone they are unable or unwilling to protect you from)
  • A description of any past persecution you have suffered, including the extent of any harm that was done
  • The kind of harm you expect will be done if you were to return home and suffer the persecution described

The likelihood of your application being accepted is highly dependent upon how thoroughly and persuasively you can describe the nature of your situation. While you could attempt to do this yourself, working with an experienced lawyer can often be a more effective option.

We are familiar with what the authorities are looking for and expect to hear in a petition and before the immigration court if necessary. We are also trained to be able to clearly explain your situation in both writing and before the court. Don’t leave anything to chance in your petition for asylum, and work with an experienced lawyer, as you can find at Steven T. Meier, PLLC.


Not being granted asylum can be a tough situation. It generally means that the asylum seeker will be placed in removal proceedings. However, denial of asylum doesn’t mean that all hope needs to be abandoned. There are a couple of alternative measures that can be sought after. They are:

  • Withholding of Removal – If you are granted a withholding, then the United States government cannot send you back to your home country. To get a withholding, you must be able to show that your life or freedom in your home country is threatened due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a social group. The benefits of a withholding are not as robust as asylum. It is not a path to a green card and citizenship, and the status can be revoked. However, it is a valuable option for those who are rejected for asylum.
  • Protection Under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) – United Nations members are prohibited both from torturing citizens and deporting citizens to countries where they would likely be tortured. This is often a last resort and is easier to terminate than something like withholding or asylum.

From Asylum to Citizen

Asylum, while offering significant protection, still runs the risk of status termination, but more secure options exist. Notably, a green card is something available for those granted asylum after one year’s time.

This grants holders permanent residency in the United States, although lacking the full benefits of citizenship. After four years, a green card holder may go through the naturalization process to become a full-fledged United States citizen.

Let Us Help You Seek Asylum

There’s no denying that immigration is a contentious issue in this country. As a result, all elements of the immigration process are taken seriously and under particular scrutiny. Asylum is no exception.

However, the asylum policies available do offer an outlet for those with legitimate reasons to fear returning to their home nation. What’s important, though, is making the decision-makers understand that reality.

That’s what we help do. At Steven T. Meier, PLLC, we have years of experience working in immigration law and helping people find asylum. We can help ensure that all forms are properly and persuasively filed out so that you don’t run into potential errors, leading to a delay or denial of your application.

We can also help represent you through any of the legal proceedings involved and use our knowledge and experience to put forth a substantial argument on your behalf. If you’re seeking asylum in the Charlotte area, contact us today.


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