Immigrants in Texas need to know this: Withholding of removal Vs. Asylum 

San Antonio, TX – One of the easiest ways illegal immigrants can get legal status is to apply for asylum as soon as they set foot in Texas. To be granted asylum, undocumented aliens must prove it’s likely they will be persecuted if they are forced to return to their country of origin. Withholding of removal is based on the same grounds and can be used if the immigrant does not meet the requirements to get asylum.

To understand the subtle difference between the two procedures and how you can benefit from them, you should reach out to a knowledgeable immigration lawyer in San Antonio.

Requirements to obtain asylum in Texas

Technically speaking, an undocumented immigrant applying for asylum in Texas is also applying for withholding of removal. Form I-589, which you must submit to the US Customs and Immigration Services, is known as Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal.

Keep in mind that you can apply for asylum when you first come to Texas, but you can also do it if you are detained by the ICE and placed in removal proceedings.

The most important element is to show that you may be persecuted if you are sent back home on grounds such as:

  • race
  • religion
  • nationality
  • political opinions
  • membership in articular social group.

You should contact experienced Texas immigration lawyers to help you gather the proof you need.

You can apply for asylum only within one year of the date when you entered US territory.

What is withholding of removal?

The most important difference between the two procedures is that withholding of removal is not subject to the one-year filing deadline. For instance, if you are arrested by the ICE after three years of living in Texas, you are no longer eligible for asylum. Your deportation lawyers can however argue that you risk being persecuted in your country of origin and seek withholding of removal as a deportation defense.

Withholding of removal may also be used by immigrants that have been convicted of certain crimes that make them ineligible for asylum. 

Another major difference is that asylum may be granted by the USCIS, while for withholding of removal you’ll have to appear in Immigration Court.

Which is easier to obtain?

It is easier to obtain asylum as the burden of proof required is lower. Your lawyers have to prove only you have a reasonable fear of persecution, something like a 10% chance of that happening. For withholding of removal, the bar is much higher. Your lawyers will have to build a strong case, convincingly showing that the chances of you being persecuted are 51% or higher.

You must also keep in mind that asylum offers more legal rights and opens a path to citizenship. Under withholding of removal, you don’t get legal status, but you will get work authorization.

Bottom line: Withholding of removal is a last resort solution for immigrants who may be persecuted if returned to their own country. You don’t get many rights, but you are, at least, allowed to stay in Texas. 

If you’re an undocumented immigrant living in Texas and want to seek asylum in the US, get in touch with a knowledgeable lawyer at the Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen in San Antonio and let them help you obtain legal status. 

Contact info:

Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen

206 East Locust Street

San Antonio, TX 78212

Phone: (210) 769-3273


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