Many people come to the United States to join their family or pursue a better life. Others are seeking to escape unrest in their native country. In fact, it is common for immigrants to have a combination of “push” and “pull” factors involved in their decision to come to the U.S.
For some people, staying in their current location is tantamount to a death sentence. These unfortunate people may be a member of a race, religion, political group or nationality that is subject to persecution in their home country.
The U.S. provides asylum to people who have been persecuted in their home country, or have reason to fear they will be persecuted. Someone allowed into the U.S. has one year to apply for asylum. Their spouse and any unmarried children under 21 can be included in the application. If accepted, the applicant and his or her family can remain in the country, safe from ethnic cleansing or other forms of persecution.
Once in Florida or another part of the country, most asylum applicants will need to work to make ends meet while awaiting the government’s decision. But the federal government requires you to obtain separate permission to get a job, which is called employment authorization.
You may file for employment authorization once 150 days have passed since you filed your complete asylum application, excluding any delays you are responsible for. No decision on your application can have been reached in the meantime.
Once approved for asylum, the applicant can begin working immediately, and rest easy knowing that they are no longer in danger of violence.