Asylum is a necessary form of protection that allows a person to remain in the U.S. because he or she fears harm or persecution. Unfortunately, those who may need protection include children.
Those who seek asylum in the United States must navigate a complex legal system. However, children seeking asylum without parents undergo a different process.
Who can apply for asylum as a minor?
Minors under the age of 18 can apply for asylum as long as they want a case separate from their parents and do not have any current immigration court proceedings. Minors can also apply for asylum as unaccompanied children.
To qualify as an unaccompanied child, the child must have no lawful immigration status and have no parent or legal guardian in the U.S.
What happens during the asylum interview?
The asylum interview is more child-friendly than the interview for adults. The officers consider the child’s age, language development and background. The officers will ask children about their parents and guardians, if they have guardians or if the guardians allowed them to apply for asylum.
Asylum officers can interview trusted adults or parents about information children cannot provide. Children may have difficulty proving that they require asylum. A child’s attorney may have to put together a fact-based argument to show persecution exists in the child’s past and that he or she requires asylum.
In cases where the officer needs more information about the parents or guardians of the minor in question, the officer can delay the case.