Foreign nationals seeking asylum must demonstrate a well-founded fear that if returned home,they will be persecuted based upon one of five characteristics: race, religion, nationality,membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Foreign nationals arriving or presenting the United States may apply for asylum affirmatively with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the Department of Homeland Security after arrival into the country, or they may seek asylum defensively before a Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) immigration judge during removal proceedings.Asylum claims ebbed and flowed in the 1980s and peaked in FY1996.
.Some express concern that U.S. sympathies for the asylum seekers caught up in the democraticpolitical uprisings in Libya and other parts of the Middle East, northern Africa, and south Asiacould inadvertently facilitate the entry of terrorists. Others maintain that current law does notoffer adequate protections for people fleeing human rights violations or gender-based abuses thatoccur around the world. Some cite the disparities in asylum approvals rates and urge broad-basedadministrative reforms. At the crux of the issue is the extent to which an asylum policy forgedduring the Cold War is adapting to the competing priorities and turbulence of the 21
Asylum and “Credible Fear” Issues in US Immigration Policy