We are going to talk today about asylum and the Mendes Rojas settlement. Under this settlement, you may be eligible to apply for asylum in the United States even if you have never filed for asylum or filed late. US immigration law provides that an individual must usually file for asylum within one-year of entering the United States.
But what happens if you failed to file for asylum or filed late because you were never informed about the one-year deadline?
The issue was finally resolved in November of last year in what is known as the Mendes Rojas settlement. That settlement provides that you may now apply for asylum, even if you entered the US many years ago if you meet the following requirements:
1. You entered the US illegally
2. You were stopped by DHS within 14 days of entry
3. You were then released from DHS custody
4. You did not receive notice of the one-year filing deadline AND
5. You have not yet applied for asylum or you did apply but after the one-year deadline.
Why is this important?
If you are granted asylum you can remain legally in the US, but you can also bring your spouse and children and later apply for permanent residency for you and your family members. It also allows you to obtain travel permission to leave and renter the US and later apply for citizenship. If you applied late for asylum and won your case in court, you were probably granted Withholding of Removal. This means you still have a removal order that will allow you to stay and work legally in the US but not allow you to bring family members, travel outside the US and re-enter, or later become a permanent resident or us citizen.
The government has begun to send out letters to individuals who may qualify under Mendes Rojas. If you receive one of these letters you should call us at Zwaik Gilbert or your current attorney. But even if you do not receive one of these letters you may still qualify.
Call us Zwaik Gilbert & Associates if this applies to you. At ZGA we are committed to counseling immigrants and growing American.