The United States has long been a haven for those seeking to avoid persecution, war, famine and domestic strife in their homelands. Current immigration law provides protection for immigrants who have a well-founded fear that they will suffer persecution in their home country based on:
- Political opinion;
- Nationality; or
- Membership in a particular social group.
These persons are classified in one of two ways. “Asylees” are immigrants who currently reside in the U.S. and seek asylum to stay in the country. “Refugees” are immigrants who currently reside outside of the U.S. and seek to come to America on the basis of their persecuted status.
Of course, most foreign born physicians do not qualify as either asylees or refugees. Nevertheless, for those who are from war-torn countries or subject to religious, ethnic or other persecution in their homeland, this can be a viable immigration option.
For those who are currently residing in the United States (whether legally or illegally), there are two paths to asylum — affirmative asylum and defensive asylum. This seven part series will cover several key specifics pertaining to asylum as well as refugee status. In the three articles that shall follow, we will discuss affirmative asylum.