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Claiming Asylum in the United States: A Primer

Immigration law allows individuals to apply for asylum in the United States who are fleeing their country and seeking protection based on “persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” Individuals can present themselves for asylum at ports of entry before U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers. As these charts show, U.S. officials also have significant discretionary powers over what to do with individuals who are inadmissible to the United States, which can impact when and how individuals make their credible fear claim as they enter different processes for removal from the United States based on these official decisions. This chart provides a general overview of the process. Individual cases may vary.

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