Can I be granted asylum if my visa has expired? 2 Answers as of August 23, 2010

I came to the US to get treatment for health reasons. My visa was extended while I was still receiving care. I am originally from Haiti and I want to stay. Can I petition asylum or is there something else I can do?

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Pacifica Legal Services | Floyd Fernandez
The short answer to your question about making an application based upon asylum is probably not, but not certain. You came to the USA for stated purposes that had nothing to do with being a victim of persecution or a member of a group specifically singled out by the government of Haiti for persecution. Applying for adjustment of status due to a claim of asylum is going to be looked at very hard by the CIS and the Immigration Court through whom your application is processed. You will have to make an independent case, not only that you have been persecuted, but why the government should not claim fraud on your part in order to obtain an immigration benefit, which could have a bar to immigration of 10 or 20 years, or even life. However, if you can make a valid case, you could be successful. People have come here for reasons other than the ones they use to get asylum, especially if the government of your country was aware of your activities and you needed to protect yourself, and their applications have been successful.

If you want to discuss this case at length, by all means give me a call or e-mail (number and e-mail is below), and we'll set up an appointment for an initial consultation, by phone or in person. I appreciate an opportunity to be of service to you, and I wish you the best.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/23/2010
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