The Classic Asylum Claim
Humanitarian is a type of asylum claim. So, let’s first look at the typical asylum and then see how that changes in the case of humanitarian asylum.
Generally, asylum provides relief to those foreigners who are likely to suffer persecution based on a protected ground if returned to your home country. 8 U.S.C. § 1158. A showing of past persecution can help support an argument that returning home will put you at risk of further maltreatment. However, past persecution alone is normally not enough to qualify for Asylum.
A protected ground is something an individual either cannot or should not change themselves. The protected grounds are:
- Political opinion
- Membership of a particular social group (PSG)
These are the only grounds upon which a person may typically seek asylum in the United States. In addition, circumstances such as violence, economic hardship, or being a citizen of a politically oppressive government alone are typically not sufficient grounds for seeking asylum, although these factors can be taken into consideration in deciding whether you qualify for asylum.
Humanitarian asylum is the exception. This is a specific type of asylum available to those who have experienced severe and atrocious past harm. The threat of future persecution if returned home is not required. Strong cases include experiences that cause long term pain and hardship, and have caused a true “shock to the consciousness” to anyone who hears what happened.
In addition, Humanitarian Asylum can apply to those who fear future abuse. Future persecution, in this case, does not need to be based on one of the protected grounds listed above.
These peculiar types of cases are rare, but possible. They are thoroughly evaluated and investigated on a case-by-case basis. An experienced immigration attorney can help with this process if you believe you qualify for humanitarian asylum.