Below, a DC refugee lawyer discusses refugee status and how someone can prove their status in the United States. The process can be lengthy and sometimes frustrating, but with the help of an experienced DC refugee attorney, you can make informed decisions and submit your application with confidence.
To learn more about refugee status call a DC immigration attorney and schedule a free consultation today.
What Does it Mean to be a Refugee?
The term “refugee” is defined differently in different places, but it is basically a person who has been forced to flee their home country because of an unsafe situation, meaning persecution or violence. A lot of the requirements for asylum applicants are drawn from the international definition of a refugee, which is basically a person who has a well-founded fear of persecution if they return to their home country. That can happen in many different countries, so it can apply to many different people.
Proving Your Refugee Status
In terms of the evidence that you need in order to have a successful asylum claim as a refugee, you can cast a wide net. One really good starting point is the U.S. Department of State’s country reports, which are issued every year and which explain the political and humanitarian situation from every country in the world, from the perspective of the U.S. government.
If our own government considers something in your home country to be a problem or a safety risk, you can use their own determination to support your claim. You can also look at newspaper articles from your home country or international news organizations; really any kind of reputable international media is good.
You would also want to submit case-specific evidence, which is different with every case. For instance, if you had police reports from your home country, you would want to submit those. If you have witnesses, they might want to testify or give statements in your case and you can submit that. Maybe you have been threatened through social media – you can use proof of that as evidence.
It is different with every case, but there is a very broad body of evidence you can submit. One other very important thing in some cases, especially when you’re trying to establish a new particular social group that hasn’t been recognized by other courts before, is providing expert witness testimony. This means having people such as professors, international policy experts, or people that work for nonprofits or NGOs in your home country testify either in person or telephonically at your asylum hearing. They can give their opinion about what the humanitarian situation is in your home country or submit evidence to corroborate your claim.
About DC Refugee Attorneys
As a DC refugee lawyer, you start from the same jumping off point in every case with the country condition report and international media documents, but then you have to tailor your body of evidence to the type of persecution that the client has suffered. In some cases, an expert witness is going to be extraordinarily helpful because they may have more information, more knowledge, and more up-to-date and accurate details than what has been reported in the media, so that might be really important in some cases. In other cases, the bigger problem is proving a client’s membership in a particular social group.
No matter what your individual circumstances may be, working with an experienced DC refugee attorney is one of the most important decisions you can make in order to help prove your refugee status. Call our law offices to speak with a DC refugee lawyer today and complete your free initial consultation.