Seeking Religious Asylum in the U.S.
One of the core values in the United States is religious freedom, the right to be a member of any religion you choose and to worship openly. That is why America grants religious asylum to those that have been persecuted for their beliefs. Additionally, the United States has created an organization called the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to study the impact of religious freedom around the world. This commission is even allowed to criticize the United States if it believes it is not sufficiently supporting religious freedom. If there is religious persecution in your home country, USCIRF probably already knows about it.
Religious persecution can take many forms. Sometimes a government will impose severe discrimination on a religious group, sometimes they will outlaw certain forms of religious instruction, and sometimes they will ban the practice of certain religions or force people to join a certain religion against their will.
Some people are persecuted because their religious beliefs do not let them join the military. This can sometimes lead to a religious asylum claim, but there is an extra burden on the asylum applicant to show that their religious beliefs are genuine.
Sometimes, the government will give a religious refugee a quiz about their religious practices. This is an unfortunate practice, as religious practices vary widely by culture, and one does not have to know everything about a religion in order to truly believe in it. An experienced asylum attorney can help a religious refugee handle the asylum process better and avoid any confusion.
The mere fact that someone is a member of a religious group is not enough to qualify for religious asylum. The asylum applicant has to have suffered religious persecution or have a reasonable fear of future religious persecution in order to apply. Working with an experienced asylum attorney can help an asylum applicant find the best strategy for applying for religious asylum. Give us a call today to explore all options you have for your refugee status.