Each year, the U.S. accepts thousands of asylum seekers who then get to exercise the first amendment rights of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly in peace.
As an asylee, you have the right to live, work, and attend school in the U.S., as well as apply for a drivers’ license and social security card. However, many are eager to contact an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles so they can extend their asylum status into citizenship or permanent resident status so that they can vote and petition for family members to immigrate.
Naturalization gives asylum seekers the chance to become a U.S. citizen following their precarious situation in their home country. However, the path to naturalization involves scrutinization on the part of the U.S. government, and asylees should not jump into it without consulting a naturalization attorney Los Angeles.
Hiring a lawyer for the naturalization process Los Angeles is beneficial because the USCIS has a variety of rules surrounding naturalization that lots of asylum holders don’t know about. Your Los Angeles citizenship lawyer can make you aware of the risks so you can make sure that your naturalization application will be approved without risking your asylum status in this country.
Original Asylum Claim
When you pursue naturalization, your past is subject to intense scrutiny by the USCIS. One of the first things the USCIS will examine is your original claim to asylum status. They will look at your naturalization application and life in the United States to make sure that your behavior is consistent with the reasons originally sought asylum.
They will look for any discrepancies regarding your current life and your asylum claim. For example, if you applied for asylum status because you were facing religious persecution in your home country, but you now practice a different religion, this could be seen as lying.
USCIS could deny the application if it’s not accompanied by a strong explanation for the discrepancies. You should provide documentation along with your naturalization application to clarify these changes.
If you have traveled back to your home country since becoming an asylee, the USCIS could see this as evidence that you never actually feared for your safety in your home country. The reasoning behind offering asylum status is that the asylee fears persecution in their home country, so returning makes it seem that the fear and the risk of persecution were actually low.
You will need to explain to USCIS why you travel back home by providing documentation of your reason to return (such as the death of a family member) and by explaining how you made a conscious effort to protect yourself or conceal your identity while in the country.
Many male asylum seekers and refugees do not know that they have to register for the selective service upon entering the United States. This means that in the event of a crisis, that person will be included in the lottery to be drafted into military service.
This does not automatically make them a soldier, as the U.S. hasn’t had a draft in decades, but it’s still important to fill out the application. Failure to register for the selective service can result in the rejection of your naturalization application. If you are a male who immigrated between the ages of 18 and 25 and you did not register, then you should consult a Los Angeles citizenship lawyer to discuss your naturalization chances.
Inconsistencies Between Your Application for Naturalization and for Asylum
The USCIS will compare your claims on the N-400 Application for Naturalization to the information you gave earlier on the I-589 Application for Asylum. If they detect any discrepancies in these claims, they may deny your application.
Common discrepancies are:
- Failure to list all organizations and groups on the asylum application
- Claiming relatives on Form N-400 that were not mentioned on the asylum application
- Discrepancies on their Answering “no” to questions involving criminal activity or arrests when the persecution in the asylum application involved arrests or criminal charges in the individual’s home country.
Certain inconsistencies can bar you from achieving naturalization. The best way to go about these discrepancies is to be proactive and address the issues with USCIS directly.
It’s a good idea to hire an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles to assist you with this process so it’s done as perfectly as possible the first time around. If you’ve already made any of the mistakes listed above, then you should contact Alami Law to aid in your journey to naturalization. Having one of our experienced immigration attorneys on your side will have a big impact on the approval or denial of your application.