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Asylum for People Fleeing Russia

Asylum for People Fleeing Russia

PUBLISHED ON: October 08

The Russian government’s decision to mobilize thousands of military reservists has prompted many people to flee the country. In response, a U.S. government spokesperson has said that America would welcome Russians seeking asylum. While this is good news for people from the Russian Federation who may be considering seeking asylum in the U.S., it’s important to note there are still specific procedures to follow to successfully apply for and obtain asylum. At Sverdloff Law Group, our skilled Chicago immigration attorneys are available to help you understand the requirements and application process for obtaining asylum. Call us today to get started.

What is Asylum, and Who is Eligible?

Asylum provides protection to qualifying immigrants in the U.S. who have faced persecution in their home country (or those who have a credible fear of facing persecution) because of their race, nationality, religion, or social or political affiliations. If you are granted asylum, you will be allowed to remain in America.

You may only apply for asylum if you are not a U.S. citizen and you are already present in the U.S. You can apply for asylum no matter what your current immigration status is, including if you entered the U.S. illegally. In most cases, you are required to apply within one year of entering the country, but there are some exceptions available. All applicants are required to submit to a criminal background check and security checks.

Asylum applications require you to provide detailed information to establish that persecution in your home country is a real threat. Working with a qualified immigration attorney can help you submit the most complete and convincing application possible and may increase your chances of obtaining asylum.

Are Russians Fleeing the Military Mobilization Eligible for Asylum in the U.S.?

Asylum is available to people from any country who meet the eligibility requirements, including people from Russia. The U.S. has publicly condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine; however, politicians and government officials have pointed out that the Russian people, and the actions of the Russian government, are two separate things and should be treated differently.

In late September 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans to call up 300,000 military reservists to fight in Ukraine. As the mobilization began, many people with no military experience were reporting being drafted, prompting thousands of young men to flee the country out of fear they would be sent to the front lines with little or no combat training. 

During a White House press briefing a few days later, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked about how the U.S. would respond to Russians fleeing the mobilization. She replied that “anyone seeking refuge for persecution, regardless of their nationality, may apply for asylum in the United States and have their claim adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.” She added, “We welcome any folks who are seeking asylum, and they should do that.” These comments indicated to many immigration experts that U.S. officials would generally be accepting of the idea that forced military service creates a credible threat of persecution for the Russian people. In addition, reports began to circulate that Russians seeking asylum who had been in the country for more than one year before applying were able to obtain asylum successfully.

Knowledgeable Immigration Attorneys Ready to Help You Apply for Asylum

For Russian immigrants currently in the U.S. without legal immigration status, there may be new opportunities to seek asylum. The process can be complicated and confusing, but help is available. At Sverdloff Law Group, we are fully dedicated to supporting immigrants. Our founding attorney, Julia Sverdloff, is a Ukrainian immigrant who is completely committed to helping reunite families and improving people’s lives through immigration. Contact our office today to learn how we may be able to assist you.

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