The refugee and asylum application processes can be complex and time-consuming, but they are effective means to protect many immigrants from unsafe situations. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, refugees are people who seek entrance into the United States in order to avoid persecution in their homeland. The state of Kentucky in particular is welcoming to those who seek shelter from harm.
Asylees fall under the category of refugees, but they must already be within the United States (or at the border) when applying for protection. The American Immigration Council states that an asylum application could be defensive, meaning the applicant is seeking exception from a deportation order, or it could be affirmative, in which the applicant is not currently under orders to be deported. In some cases, if a person is encountered near the country’s border, an officer within the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services department may then conduct an interview in order to determine if the immigrant has credible or reasonable fear of returning to his or her country. If it is determined that this fear legitimately exists, that person may then receive asylum.
Immigrants hoping for asylum should apply for it within one year of entering the United States. Aside from protection from being forced to return to a hostile environment, asylees also receive some of the benefits which citizens enjoy. They may apply for a social security number, and some may even be eligible for health care assistance and similar government aid. They may apply for permanent resident status and, after four years, United States citizenship. Asylees may also request protection on behalf of family members who are still in their native country.