Asylum is a form of protection offered by governments to individuals who fear persecution in their home country. To qualify for asylum in the United States, a person must demonstrate a fear of persecution that is well founded and based on the person’s political opinions, religion, nationality, race, or membership in a specific group. Generally, immigration courts which will decide whether or not to grant asylum to a foreign citizen will consider at least a 10% chance that the person will be persecuted if the person is returned to his or her homeland as sufficient to show a “well founded” fear of persecution.
In terms of membership in a specific group, the membership may not be dependant on something changeable, like style of clothes, but on something that can’t be changed, like sex, orientation, religious belief, etc.
The rules also state that the fear of persecution must come from the person’s home government or a group which the government is unable to control. Groups that the government can’t control are typically those like guerilla groups and certain types of criminal organizations.
If a person is seeking asylum in the United States for persecution which the person has already suffered, then it is much more likely that a person’s request for asylum will be approved. This is because, in the case of past persecution, the burden rests on the government to show that circumstances in the person’s home country have changed to a point where persecution is no longer a threat.
An expert witness is somebody who testifies in a trial on matters of established fact, industry standards, etc. The person is not an eyewitness, which is somebody who actually saw first hand a persecution or crime taking place, but someone who provides their professional knowledge and insight into the matters of a case.
For example, if a person must demonstrate persecution of a group of individuals to which they belong when there is no widespread knowledge that the persecution is taking place, then an expert witness with professional experience and knowledge of the region and current conditions in the region can offer testimony that may be enough to sway an immigration court to grant the asylum.
Because the court will use the testimony of expert witnesses in order to justify a ruling, expert witnesses must be true professionals and experts in their fields. Someone with minimal or questionable experience may not only provide incorrect testimony, but that expert witness’ credibility as a source of information can be drawn into question and the court persuaded to disregard the testimony altogether. However, when an expert witness is found with strong credentials and a legitimate history of being required to know the type of knowledge which is being sought, the benefits can be astronomical.
Finding the Expert
One of the biggest reasons why a person should work with an attorney to handle their immigration matters is because of the professional resources which immigration attorneys have access to. Representing a case without the help of an attorney, while allowed, puts the person at a major disadvantage because most average people don’t have access to the professional resources that they will need in order to craft the most compelling and factually accurate case for asylum as possible. Most experienced immigration attorneys, on the other hand, will have a roster of expert witnesses that they can call on at a moment’s notice to find the information that they need to help a person win his or her case in immigration court.