Withholding of Removal

If you are in the United States seeking protection from torture or persecution in your country, you may be eligible for withholding of removal.

Withholding of removal is a different type of benefit from asylum because the applicant has to meet a higher standard in proving he/she will face persecution or torture. Generally the applicant must prove that the chances of them being persecuted in the future is more than 50%.

Usually a lot of applicants apply for asylum and withholding of removal simultaneously since it acts as a backup in case the asylum application is not approved. Both forms of relief are based on well-founded fear of persecution in your country based on Religion, Political Origin, Race, Nationality, Sexuality, and membership in a particular social group.

Immigration Courtroom
Photograph by Impact

“Withholding of removal prevents an applicant¬†from sponsoring family members in the US or outside the US”

There are numerous reasons why an applicant might not be eligible for Asylum but might be eligible for Withholding of Removal. A few of those reasons that prevent an immigrant from obtaining asylum that do not apply to Withholding of Removal are:

  • The probability (not possibility), of future persecution in country of origin
  • Missed the one year filing deadline for asylum applications
  • Have criminal convictions that disqualify an immigrant from asylum

You can only file for Withholding of Removal if you are currently in side the US; whether or not you have legal status is not a concern. Only an Immigration judge can make a decision on your withholding of removal application, not an asylum officer.

The main advantage of applying for withholding of removal is that it is considered as a mandatory form of protection. When an applicant applies for asylum, an asylum officer can either grant you asylum or deny asylum based on some factors in your case. However the decision for withholding of removal does not consider those factors therefore the judge must approve your application if you are eligible.

If you are granted withholding of removal, you will be removed from the removal proceedings and you will not be asked or forced to return to your country where your life is threatened although you could be moved to a 3rd country where you might be considered safe.

It is very important to note that withholding of removal prevents an applicant from sponsoring family members in the US or outside the US, applying for residency or US citizenship and travelling outside the US. If you travel outside the US you will not be allowed inside the US. You can however apply and maintain a valid Work Permit or Employment Authorization Document (EAD) making you eligible to work legally in the US.

Additional Asylum Resources:

  1. Asylum
  2. Gender Based Asylum
  3. LGBT Asylum
  4. Withholding of Removal
  5. Convention Against Torture (CAT)

If you think you may be eligible for Withholding of Removal,
Contact our Immigration Attorney for assistance on your case.

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