By the time someone applies for asylum, their circumstances may be dire. They could face serious persecution in their homeland and feel like they cannot return. Asylum is the legal term for when a country allows people to enter that usually would not qualify for immigration because of instability or violence in their country of origin.
Wars, widespread cultural persecution and theocracies are all reasons why people may pursue asylum in another country. Requests for asylum in the United States have increased in recent decades, and the government simply cannot keep up with the demand. Even those who should theoretically qualify for asylum may find themselves waiting years for an opportunity to make their case.
Vulnerable people end up stuck in limbo
When you apply for asylum, you are in a very vulnerable position. If you return to your country of origin, you can face persecution or even violence because of certain protected characteristics, like your race or your religion. Unfortunately, you will not receive a quick response when requesting asylum.
According to data about asylum applications, the delays can be staggering. For example, statistics about asylum seekers indicate that nearly two-thirds of the people who have applied for asylum since 2000 still haven’t had court hearings to determine if they qualify. The estimated wait time for a hearing is a shocking 1,621 days. That is almost four-and-a-half years from the date of application to the date of the hearing.
Given that most applicants seek affirmative asylum, the process can be frustrating. They are already physically present and asking for permission to stay. Still, they don’t have the documentation necessary to work a job and may have very few resources. Understanding at a lengthy delay is likely and that you will potentially need support until the resolution of your asylum claim can help you safely enter the country.
The right support can also help you meet the basic needs of yourself and your family with a pending asylum claim. There are organizations and community groups that help support asylum seekers trapped in immigration purgatory. Getting the right help when seeking asylum as someone from a volatile country could improve your chances of success and make your transitions smoother.