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Things to know when seeking asylum in the US

There was a man who told Customs and Border Protection officers that he'd rather spend his life in a United States prison than return to his country of origin because it was so dangerous to live amid the violence there. You may be able to relate to that man's story because you too have come to Colorado seeking asylum in the United States. Leaving the community you have always known and coming to a place you may have never even visited can be stressful and scary.  

Immigration officials have strict requirements for granting asylum. As with most immigration processes, there are eligibility factors to consider. There are also application forms to fill out and other legal steps you must take before you can work toward a new and happy future in America.

Others have recently requested asylum

You may have already heard about the large group of people who recently arrived at the U.S. side of the San Ysidro port at the Mexican border. The group designated a man who traveled with the group as their leader. He communicated with officials to try to get as many immigrants across the border and in line for asylum as possible.

The following list includes tips he gave to other immigrants that may be helpful in your situation: 

  • It's important to follow all instructions that immigration officials give you.  
  • When waiting in line at the border or even for another type of process, never obstruct the path of those who have permission to move forward in the line ahead of you, such as people at the border who may have valid passports. 
  • Be prepared to state your reasons for seeking asylum. 
  • Also, be prepared to substantiate your claims. If you are afraid to return to your country of origin for a specific reason, you must be able to show evidence that supports your story. 
  • Officials may place you in an immigration detention facility after asking for asylum. Officials often send asylum seekers to such locations while they await their interviews.  

One of the women with the hundreds of people who planned to seek asylum at the San Ysidro border was a young mother who had her 2-year old child in tow. She said her husband had already crossed the border with their older child, and she hoped to reunite with her family. If immigrant officials detain you or your family member, you may want to tap into available resources to try to rectify the situation.  

Asylum is available to those in need of protection from abject poverty, violence or persecution in their homelands. U.S. immigration law is complex and the government processes every case according to its own merits. If you understand your rights and know where to seek support, you stand a good chance of achieving your immigration goals.

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