People who flee their countries for political reasons may apply at an American Embassy for admission to the U.S. If granted – they are called REFUGEES, and upon legal arrival in the U.S. are entitled to government and private aid for resettlement.
People (non-American) in the U. S. who don’t wish to return to their country because of FEAR OF PERSECUTION, may apply at the Immigration Service for POLITICAL ASYLUM. If granted – they are called ASYLEES, and after a certain time gain status as Legal Permanent Residents (Green Card holders) and then American citizenship.
POLITICAL ASYLUM is an “umbrella” name for different claims of PERSECUTION back in the home country. But this is not a simple, and not an easy, application. First, there is a time limit to file such an application – it must be filed within one (1) year after arrival in the U.S. Second, the applicant must convince the American government that his or her FEAR OF PERSECUTION if returned home is real – and in most cases the fear of FUTURE PERSECUTION requires proof of PAST PERSECUTION. Third, there are all kinds of “exceptions” which could lead to a denial – for example: if the applicant spent some time in a third country, between the home country and the U.S., the American government could claim that he or she should have applied for Political Asylum in that third country. Fourth, the applicant must show that the PERSECUTION, he o she is afraid of, is because of one of FIVE specific reasons: POLITICAL OPINION, RELIGION, RACE, NATIONALITY or MEMBERSHIP IN A PARTICULAR SOCIAL GROUP. In short, an application for POLITICAL ASYLUM is a difficult and RISKY project.
Why is it RISKY? Because if the application is denied, the DENIAL comes, in most cases, with an ORDER OF REMOVAL (DEPORTATION). Therefore, better think twice before you make such an application.