“In many regions of the world today, people live in tragic situations of instability and uncertainty. It does not come as a surprise that in such contexts the poor and the destitute make plans to escape, to seek a new land that can offer them bread, dignity, and peace. This is the migration of the desperate.”
Pope John Paul II, Message on World Migration Day 2000
Who Are Asylees?
An asylee is an individual who flees his or her country due to persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a social group. Although, they meet the definition of “refugee” in the Immigration and Nationality Act, asylees who come to the U.S. for protection, do not enter the country with refugee status. Once in the U.S., these individuals apply for asylum, a status which acknowledges that they meet the definition of a refugee and allows them to remain in the country and receive services, if granted.
What Services Are Provided to Asylees?
Asylees are eligible for ORR-funded refugee assistance and social services from the date they are granted asylum. ORR is the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the Department of Health and Human Services. Asylum applicants are generally not eligible for these services, except in the instance of some Cuban and Haitian nationals. While awaiting adjudication of their asylum application, these individuals may be eligible for the same assistance and services that Cuban and Haitian Entrants receive.
How does USCCB/MRS Assist Asylees? USCCB/MRS serves asylees primarily through its Match Grant and Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URM) programs. Match Grant is an early employment program for eligible refugees, asylees, Cuban/Haitian Entrants and certified victims of human trafficking. The URM Program cares for unaccompanied refugee minors through family reunification or placement into foster care. The program is also available for asylees, Cuban/Haitian Entrants and victims of human trafficking.
Many diocesan resettlement programs provide other social services to asylees through state or local assistance programs which they administer.
The National Asylee Information and Referral Line
Asylees can call the National Asylee Information and Referral Line (1.800.354.0365) to connect with local refugee service providers and the benefits for which they are eligible. It is a multi-lingual line and is for asylees only.
Asylum Quick Links
- Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC)
- US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
- Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)
- Immigrating the Spouse and Children of Refugees/Asylees
- CLINIC Eligibility Resource Guide
- Asylee Eligibility for Refugee Resettlement Program Benefits
- Status and Documentation for Refugee Resettlement
- FAQs Concerning Asylee Eligibility for Refugee Assistance
- How To Get Help
- “Well Founded Fear” PBS Documentary