Asylum is a type of humanitarian-based immigration available to applicants who are currently in the U.S. or are seeking entry into the U.S. at a designated port of entry. It is granted to individuals who have a well-founded fear of persecution if returned to their country of origin.
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To be eligible for asylum status the applicant must meet the definition of a refugee, which according to the Immigration and Nationality Act is “a person who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of, that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”
Asylum is granted at the discretion of the Attorney General. If granted, it may be terminated if hostile circumstances abroad no longer exist. After one year, those granted asylum status have the opportunity to apply for a green card.