Waiting For Asylum

Those seeking a safe haven in the United States from religious, political, and economic oppression are finding it more difficult to obtain asylum on U.S. soil. According to a recent report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, 32 percent of asylum seekers in the United States are detained for 90 days or longer.

"Refugees who seek asylum in the U.S. face tremendous hurdles, from immigration detention to the lack of legal representation to a new law that will make it even tougher for them to receive protection," Eleanor Acer, director of Human Rights First's Asylum Program, told Sojourners.
About half of asylum seekers are held in county jails.

  • 64 days: The average length of detention for asylum seekers who are determined to have cause for "credible fear" if deported to their country of origin.
  • 2%: The chance asylum seekers without a lawyer have of gaining asylum in the United States.
  • 72%: The percentage of asylum seekers denied relief or who withdrew applications for relief from 2000 to 2004.
  • 64%: The percentage of men who received referral interviews based upon "credible fear."
  • 36%: The percentage of women who received referral interviews based upon "credible fear."

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Sojourners Magazine August 2005
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