Due to the current humanitarian and political crisis in Venezuela, many Venezuelans are living in fear and fleeing to escape danger. At least 3 million refugees have fled the country, and it is predicted that in the near future it could be more than 8 million.”1 Civilians impacted by crisis may be eligible for humanitarian protection in the United States. Indeed, many are already in the process of seeking asylum. More than 70,000 Venezuelans have sought asylum in the past four years.
Seeking Asylum in the United States
Any person within the United States has the right to apply for asylum. This right is enshrined both in our law and international law.
To receive asylum, an applicant must establish that they were harmed or would be harmed on account of a protected characteristic by the government or by forces that the government is unable or unwilling to control. A protected characteristic means an applicant’s political opinion, religion, race, ethnicity, or membership in a particular social group (such as family or LGBTQ identity). Notably, an applicant can eligible for asylum if people just perceive them as having a protected characteristic-such as a political opinion- even if they don’t actually have it.
Venezuelans afraid to return may have strong asylum claims based on persecution that they could face due to their political opinions. People who do not hold a political opinion, but are perceived to have one based on their family, friends, education, wealth, or occupation, and could be in danger because of that political opinion, can also be eligible. This includes those who fear that they could be victims of the Maduro regime due to their political opinions, and possibly those who fear that they could be viewed as supporting Maduro and face harm due to that reason. If you fear any harm in Venezuela because of your political views, you should consider asylum,
However, it is important to note that seeking asylum is never easy. In these cases, it will be very important to show that you will be harmed because of your political opinion–and not just that you are subject to the deteriorating conditions of the country that everyone else also suffers from. Making this showing will likely require a lot of documentation and a thorough investigation why you could be harmed or were harmed in the past.
How can we help?
- If you are a Venezuelan in the United States, and are afraid to go back to Venezuela, please contact our office (Email us) and we can talk with you about your options for humanitarian protection. Our team is experienced in asylum and human rights related relief. As a government attorney, and a former asylum officer, I personally understand what the government is looking for in these cases and can help you prepare a strong application. Because of possible filing deadlines that could impact your eligibility, the sooner you talk with our office the better.
- If you are from Venezuela, but were previously denied asylum or ordered removed, there may be a basis for reopening your case based on changed country conditions. Again, the sooner we talk with you the better. Please contact our office.
- If you have family members or friends in Venezuela that are afraid, do not let the rhetoric from the Trump administration stop them from trying to get to America to seek the protection that they are entitled to. If you have family or friends in this position, please call us and we can discuss the options.
Call our today for a consultation today at (213) 375-4084.
1Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN, Trump is sending humanitarian aid to Venezuela. Venezuelans in the US say they need help, too, February 20, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/16/us/venezuelans-asylum/index.html