Will your asylum claim be believed?

United States law permits people to apply for asylum provided they meet certain requirements. The problem is that proving you meet the requirements can be incredibly hard.

Knowing you are telling the truth and that you meet the criteria is not always enough. You need to convince the person assessing your application that what you say is true. Two people in exactly the same situation could receive different outcomes when applying for asylum.

You need to overcome people’s pre-conceived notions

Many of the asylum officers have never left the country, let alone had to face the sort of harrowing persecution that asylum seekers are typically fleeing. What you tell them may sound so incredible to them that they assume you are making it up. 

You need to overcome their prejudices

When Russia invaded Ukraine, many Western countries opened their arms to Ukrainian asylum seekers. Many watchers commented that Western countries reacted with more compassion and seemed more horrified to see white people suffering than to see Black or brown people suffering with similar problems elsewhere.

Asylum officers may struggle to overcome their personal prejudices when assessing claims. Some may have no intention of putting them to one side. A young woman they find attractive may fare better than one they find unattractive. They may believe a small scholarly man who says he fears for his life more than someone who is built like an NFL lineman. Or, they may listen with more charity to someone who comes from the same country as their kind high school teacher than someone with the same roots as the classmate that bullied them.

You need to tell your story well

If your asylum claim was unfairly rejected it may be time to seek legal help to assess how best to present your claim. Sometimes just having legal representation can make your truth more believable.

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