Asylum and Withholding of Removal

Two ways foreigners seek protection from deportation (removal) in the United States are Asylum and Withholding of Removal. Asylum allows immigrants to work legally, gain permanent residence (green card), and the opportunity to apply for citizenship. In addition, Asylees can bring their spouse and children (unmarried and under the age 21) to the U.S. Not everyone is eligible to apply for an asylum. A second choice, withholding of removal, is more difficult to obtain and gives fewer benefits.


An asylum is protection given to foreigners in the U.S. or at the U.S. border. According to the United Nation’s protocol, a refugee is a person who cannot return to their home country due to fear of persecution. The persecution must be based on “race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” The U.S. is required to protect refugees. People granted asylum gain the right to work in the U.S. legally. They are protected from removal from the U.S. Other benefits are include a Social Security Card, Medicaid, and Refugee Medical Assistance. In addition, they are allowed to travel overseas, and request to bring their family to the U.S.

Withholding of Removal

Those not eligible for asylum may be eligible for a “withholding of removal”. If an immigration cancels a removal order, the “removal” of that person is “withheld”. Different from asylum, a person granted withholding of removal may not leave the U.S without the order, cannot bring family members to the US, and cannot gain permanent residence or citizenship unless they later qualify for other forms of relief (for example marrying a US Citizen). If the situation in the person’s home country improves, the withholding of removal can be invalidated, and deportation is reinstated. 

The immigration attorneys at Heiferman & Associates are here to assist with asylum applications and withholding of removal. Our immigration lawyers also assist clients with applying for most visas, green cards and citizenship. Our attorneys have successfully represented well over 100 asylees. We defend refugee clients in Immigration Court, at the Asylum Office and with appeals. We are available by appointment, Zoom, Teams, Google and more. Please contact us today at (718)-888-9545 to schedule an initial consultation.