Affirmative vs. defensive asylum: What’s the difference?

There are two different types of asylum in New Jersey: affirmative and defensive. U.S. immigration law is very specific about the difference between these two types of asylum, but it can be difficult to understand how they both work without a clear explanation. This article outlines the differences between affirmative and defensive asylum to help you know when to use each type depending on your situation.

Affirmative asylum

U.S. immigration law recognizes affirmative asylum as a means of protection for individuals who are being persecuted in their home countries due to their nationality, religion, race, political opinions or membership in a particular social group. U.S. immigration authorities do not need evidence of past persecution when granting this type of status, and the individual does not have to prove that he or she will be persecuted if returned to his or her home country.

U.S. immigration law requires affirmative asylum seekers to show that it is more than likely that they would get persecuted in their home countries due to one or more of the above five specific characteristics, and U.S. immigration authorities believe this person deserves protection.

Defensive asylum

On the other hand, defensive asylum is a type of U.S. immigration protection for individuals who are not facing persecution in their home countries but fear returning due to past or future harm that the five characteristics listed above cannot explain. A good example is a gender-based violence or unrest following a natural disaster. Therefore, if U.S. immigration authorities have evidence of past persecution, you will not need to show that you would get persecuted if returned. U.S. immigration law requires defensive asylum seekers to show that they will likely suffer significant harm in their home countries.

Although U.S. immigration law is specific about the difference between affirmative and defensive asylum, U.S. immigration authorities are likely to require a lot of documentation to prove your case in either type of asylum status application process. Therefore, you need to prepare yourself before applying if this applies to you or someone you know.

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