Asylum may not be a frequent topic of discussion at American dinner tables, but Edward Snowden’s appeal for Asylum in 20 other countries certainly stirred discussion about citizens of one nation state who seek protection from persecution in their home country. In the Snowden matter, the Wikileaks member received several responses from countries indicating that Snowden, “must first be on their soil to apply for asylum,” reported the Washington times, also stating that, “This does not rule out the possibility of asylum, nor does it rule out ultimately rejecting his claim and possibly extraditing him to the United States, meaning that Snowden may not see these countries as viable options.[i]”
Nobody seemed to want Mr. Snowden but the U.S. gave asylum to Russian LGBT applicants.
The article reports that Venezuela and Bolivia were open but ultimately declined to offer their open arms. Was global political pressure enough to affect these countries’ decisions in this high profile case? Sometimes asylum can be a game of “hot potato” and there can be challenging circumstances involved such as the individual seeking asylum being exiled from their home nation and literally not having anywhere to go.
One example of those fleeing from homeland persecution are the members of Russia’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) communities. Nikola Krastev, writer for The Moscow Times reported, regarding a Russian Asylum seeker who won U.S. Asylum protection, quoted his interviewee, “”I’m not even talking about being openly gay,” Kargaltsev said. “But what is a person supposed to do when he cannot change his voice and his mannerisms? When [gayness] is detectable visually, there’s little pleasure in it.”[ii]” Krastev continued in his article to state that, “Figures for the number of Russians seeking asylum abroad for their sexual orientation are hard to come by, and it is unclear whether there has been an increase amid police crackdowns on gay rallies in Moscow over the past five years or the passage of an anti-gay law in St. Petersburg in March.”
Asylum is sought by people coming to the United State to be free from persecution, those who fear for their life.
So much of the immigration reform debate has focused on nations nearly bordering U.S. soil, namely Mexico and Cuba. Seeking a better economy and jobs is one thing, but fleeing a home country persecuting its citizens is different, and to many people outside the immigration and the communities it entangles, namely immigration lawyers, do not hear the stories of hard working and good people who sometimes have no choice other than to flee. Reasons people leave for protection in the U.S. can include: political affiliation; race; religion; nationality; gender; sexual orientation and group affiliations to name a few.
Like the countries where Snowden sought asylum, the United States has eligibility rules. If asylum is granted an application’s spouse and children, who are included in the initial application, are also able to remain in the United States as asylees or enter the United States if abroad. Also, under some circumstances an asylum seeker may be allowed to apply to work and earn income in the U.S. The legal process for asylum protection is complex and only a state-licensed immigration attorney should help asylum seekers with the application processes.
You should always confirm that you are working with a licensed attorney in your home state as there are many people who prey upon the fragile position in which asylum seekers find themselves as they try to mitigate a complex and intimidating immigration system.
The Law Offices of KiKi M. Mosley helps asylum seekers with the asylum application process from beginning to end. Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues. For more information about the law firm, please tap/click here to visit the rest of the website, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter or Google Plus.
[i] Washington Post. Map: Tracking how countries are answering Snowden’s asylum requests. By Max Fisher, July 2, 2013.