USCIS Has Changed Its Travel Fact Sheet? US Permanent Residents no longer mentioned/warned?

tributeblinky

Registered Users (C)
#1
It is very strange that no one has noticed this, but I was searching for USCIS's travel fact sheet today and I saw the following page on their website. It looks like they have another fact sheet, posted in 2009, after the one in 2007. I kept looking for the old one (2007) titled "Fact Sheet: Traveling Outside the United States as an Asylum Applicant, an Asylee, or a Lawful Permanent Resident Who Obtained Such Status Based on Asylum Status", but it seems like they have deleted it from the relevant links section of their website and it is no longer openly available or can be found as a relevant link on any of their web-site's pages. They seem to be changing quite a few things regarding this matter on their website. The new one (2009) unlike the one before (2007), mentions nothing about permanent residents who got their LPR status through asylum/refugee status. In this document, only asylees/refugees are warned about their return to their country of claimed persecution. I have included the USCIS link and pasted the relevant part of the document at the end of this post and have also attached the PDF file to it.

It is very possible that I might be missing something. So if I am, please let me know. Also, I am not saying this is a green light or if I am encouraging anyone. But if you need to make a temporary (because per the fact sheet, you should not seek permanent resident status in that country anymore) visit with your LPR status, I don't see USCIS prohibiting you in this new face sheet.

Even in the instructions for I-131 Application for Travel Document, USCIS gives you a clear warning about returning to your COP with asylum/refugee status and re-availing yourself of the protection of that country (USCIS is very vague about what they mean by that), but in this I-131 instructions document there is no warning to LPRs, who got their LPR status through asylum/refugee, about their return to their COP and re-availing themselves of that country's protection. Unlike some in this forum, I personally do not believe using your passport after you become a LPR is considered re-availing of one's self of the protection of your previous asylum's case's COP. The reason is USCIS tells asylees/refugees to apply for a travel document before they leave US, otherwise their status will be considered abandoned, unless they have already become LPR (you still need to have a document apart from your Green Card to enter the US with and have it stamped), which basically means once you become and a LPR, even if you have obtained it through asylum/refugee, you can go on and use your national passport to travel. Another reason why I think USCIS treats or should treat LPRs through asylum just like other LPRs and differently from asylee/refugees.

Also, even in the old fact sheet, they said that you may be QUESTIONED about your trip and that it may lead to the termination of the asylum status or the LPR's underlying asylum status. But they never said the termination of your LPR status. Once you become a LPR, you hold a LPR status, even if it was based on asylum. Just like someone who got their LPR through marriage or employment. Will they lose their LPR if they get a divorce or if they are fired from their job? Certainly not. That is why we do not see a single person with LPR through asylum/ refugee whose Green Card has been revoked, specially with the reason that they have visited their previous asylum case's COP temporarily on single or multiple short trips.

One more thing, to experts in this forum, USCIS is very vague in this fact sheet and they never use the word WILL (here, I am talking about refugees and asylees and not LPRs anymore after the new fact sheet). When they mention "termination of asylum status could occur if an alien has voluntarily availed himself or herself of the protection of the alien’s country of nationality . . . by RETURNING to such country", even though it does not say temporarily (short visits) or permanently (longer/permanent like visits), the document is followed by this "with permanent resident status or the reasonable possibility of obtaining such status with the same rights and obligations pertaining to other permanent residents of that country". Hence many can draw the conclusion that by RETURN, USCIS does not mean short visits and they mean returning as if you will be living there permanently instead of here.

So correct me if I am wrong but according to this document, there is no law prohibiting you and legally you can visit your COP before becoming a US Citizen:

- if you are visiting your COP with your green card/LPR status for a short visit (even better if you have compelling reasons),

- if you are careful and will not be claiming direct protection or any benefit from your COP and there are no changed circumstances in your COP relevant to your case (this is more for asylees/refugees and not LPRs),

- if your original case is not fraudulent and your fear is still there and has always been genuine and that is why you can not live there permanently anymore (this is particularly true if you have a fear of future persecution if you live there as a permanent citizen but with no immediate danger as temporary visitor - all discussed and declared in your asylum case - again this is more for asylees/refugees and not LPRs),

- and if you will not be re-availing yourself of the protection of your COP by returning there as a PERMANENT resident of that country (not as a temporary visitor on a short trip, hopefully for compelling reasons - again this is more for asylees/refugees and not LPRs).

Again, I am not an attorney and what I say should not be taken as legal advice. This is my personal analysis of this new fact sheet and the current relevant laws and regulations. I think if you are a LPR of the US, and need to visit your previous asylum case's COP with or without compelling reasons (because personally I think the word compelling is stupid, a reason insignificant to one, can be deeply important for someone else) for a short temporary visit (the word short visit is not defined, as long as you are not going to live there permanently) and will not be living in your COP as a permanent resident (US is still your permanent home) or seeking a permanent resident status there or the reasonable possibility of obtaining such status with the same rights and obligations pertaining to other permanent residents of that country (your COP) and will not claim direct protection or any benefits from your COP, and you are a law abiding citizen and have no criminal convictions (particularly in the US), and you know that you are in no immediate danger if you return to your COP for a short visit, and you understand that if you do get persecuted in your COP the US Government is not able to and is not responsible to help and protect you in that situation, THEN there is no law prohibiting you from doing so, your US LPR status should not be endangered and you should not be persecuted by immigration authorities here in the US upon your return from your temporary visit or during your US Citizenship process and if you are, your genuine and rational rebuttal should be enough against it.

Again, this is my personal opinion, and should not be taken as an advice. And also please do not badger it. Each of our immigration and asylum cases is different. So to each his own. If you are making such decision, don't make it lightly and only do it if you think the above circumstances apply to you and your case. The bottom line is, asylees/refugees came to the US because they could not live in their COP permanently anymore and got their asylum cases approved because they feared persecution as a permanent resident in their COP. Now if they decide to go back to visit, does that mean their case was fraudulent and there is no fear? Not necessarily, each asylum case is different and the circumstances are different. So as long as they know of the dangers and risks, and that they know they will not be protected by the US government and they are still fearful, their status, particularly LPR status, here in the US should not be jeopardized or revoked by the US government. That is why we do not see cases of such thing happening, especially no cases of LPR status being revoked because of this, if no fraud was involved.

So experts, please elaborate on what I discussed above and if you think I am missing something regarding the new fact sheet or anything else, please comment.

Here is the link to USCIS's new fact sheet (released in oct 2009):

http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/us...nnel=68439c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD

And the link to its PDF file:

http://www.uscis.gov/USCIS/New Stru...es/Oct 2009/AdvParoleFact ShtOct2009Final.pdf

And the relevant part of the document:

"Possible Consequences of Returning to the Country of Claimed Persecution

Section 208.8(b) of Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations provides that an asylum applicant who leaves the United States pursuant to Advance Parole and returns to the country of claimed persecution shall be presumed to have abandoned his or her asylum application, unless the applicant is able to establish compelling reasons for the return. Therefore, if an asylum applicant returns to his or her country of claimed persecution pursuant to Advance Parole, he or she should be prepared to explain the reason for the return.

A grant of asylum may be terminated for specific reasons as listed in INA § 208(c)(2). Returning to one’s country of claimed persecution may be relevant to a number of termination grounds. For instance, asylum status could be terminated based on a fundamental change in circumstances in the asylee’s country of persecution. Termination of asylum or refugee status could also occur due to fraud in the asylum or refugee application such that the individual was not eligible for asylum or refugee status. Return to the country of feared persecution can, in some circumstances, be considered evidence that the asylee’s alleged fear of persecution is not genuine. In addition, termination of asylum status could occur if an “alien has voluntarily availed himself or herself of the protection of the alien’s country of nationality . . . by returning to such country with permanent resident status or the reasonable possibility of obtaining such status with the same rights and obligations pertaining to other permanent residents of that country.”

Accordingly, an asylee or refugee may be questioned about why he or she was able to return to the country of claimed persecution and, in some circumstances, may be subject to proceedings to terminate asylum or refugee status."


USCIS = United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
LPR = Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card holder)
COP = Country of Persecution
 
Last edited by a moderator:

tributeblinky

Registered Users (C)
#2
I also thought it might be interesting to some to know what the law exactly says about this issue. What I am quoting here is directly from the INA ACT 208 ASYLUM. Again here, when they talk about termination of asylum, the have not mentioned LPR through asylum.

"(2) Termination of asylum. - Asylum granted under subsection (b) does not convey a right to remain permanently in the United States, and may be terminated if the Attorney General determines that -

(A) the alien no longer meets the conditions described in subsection (b)(1) owing to a fundamental change in circumstances;

(B) the alien meets a condition described in subsection (b)(2) --> this part they are talking about criminal convictions, terrorist acts, persecution of others, resettlement in another country and other special rules

(C) the alien may be removed, pursuant to a bilateral or multilateral agreement, to a country (other than the country of the alien's nationality or, in the case of an alien having no nationality, the country of the alien's last habitual residence) in which the alien's life or freedom would not be threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, and where the alien is eligible to receive asylum or equivalent temporary protection;

(D) the alien has voluntarily availed himself or herself of the protection of the alien's country of nationality or, in the case of an alien having no nationality, the alien's country of last habitual residence, by returning to such country with permanent resident status or the reasonable possibility of obtaining such status with the same rights and obligations pertaining to other permanent residents of that country; or

(E) the alien has acquired a new nationality and enjoys the protection of the country of his new nationality.

(3) Removal when asylum is terminated. - An alien described in paragraph (2) is subject to any applicable grounds of inadmissibility or deportability under section 212(a) and 237(a) , and the alien's removal or return shall be directed by the Attorney General in accordance with sections 240 and 241 .
"

Again as you can see here, LPRs are not included in this section of the law related to the termination of the asylum status, and I could not find anywhere in the clauses of immigration law that the LPR's status will be revoked if any of these grounds apply to him/her and/or if the underlying asylum case is revoked, their LPR status will be too.

Also as you can see, they have clearly defined here that by voluntarily availing one's self of the protection of the country of persecution, they mean "returning to such country with permanent resident status or the reasonable possibility of obtaining such status with the same rights and obligations pertaining to other permanent residents of that country". This does not include temporary short visits to the COP without seeking permanent resident status there.

Here is the link to this section of the INA:

http://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-29/0-0-0-1687.html
 
Last edited by a moderator:

BigJoe5

Registered Users (C)
#3
One continues to run the risk of exposing themselves to an accusation of having committed fraud to get the asylee status in the first place if they return to a COP that has not significantly changed. However, those who have not done anything dishonest should have no fear of making a visit because it has become safe to return to their former COP after reforms have taken place (as long as they have moved beyond asylee status to LPR or naturalized USC).

From the fact sheet:

"...Termination of asylum or refugee status could also occur due to fraud in the asylum or refugee application such that the individual was not eligible for asylum or refugee status. Return to the country of feared persecution can, in some circumstances, be considered evidence that the asylee’s alleged fear of persecution is not genuine."

8 CFR § 209.2 Adjustment of status of alien granted asylum.

The provisions of this section shall be the sole and exclusive procedure for adjustment of status by an asylee admitted under section 208 of the Act whose application is based on his or her asylee status.

(b) Inadmissible Alien. An applicant who is inadmissible to the United States under section 212(a) of the Act, may, under section 209(c) of the Act, have the grounds of inadmissibility waived by the director (except for those grounds under paragraphs (27), (29), (33), and so much of (23) as relates to trafficking in narcotics) for humanitarian purposes, to assure family unity, or when it is otherwise in the public interest. An application for the waiver may be filed on Form I–602 (Application by Refugee for Waiver of Grounds of Excludability) with the application for adjustment. An applicant for adjustment who has had the status of an exchange alien nonimmigrant under section 101(a)(15)(J) of the Act, and who is subject to the foreign resident requirement of section 212(e) of the Act, shall be eligible for adjustment without regard to the foreign residence requirement.

INA 212 (a)

(6) Illegal entrants and immigration violators.-

(C) Misrepresentation.-

(i) In general.-Any alien who, by fraud or willfully misrepresenting a material fact, seeks to procure (or has sought to procure or has procured) a visa, other documentation, or admission into the United States or other benefit provided under this Act is inadmissible.
 

tributeblinky

Registered Users (C)
#4
I can't stress more when I say, I am only talking about genuine LPRs/asylees/refugees who still have a fear of persecution. Returning as a temporary visitor on a short trip is irrelevant and does not directly mean they had a fraudulent application. Specially if they went there after they became LPR, where still fearful and understood all the risks.

You are quoting to me parts of the law I already read through and know, but no where in it do I see a provision that DIRECTLY prohibits a LPR (through asylum) from returning to their PREVIOUS asylum case's COP and that their current LPR status (not asylum status) will be revoked after and IF their underlying asylum case is revoked, and if such thing will even happen SOLELY because they made a TEMPORARY SHORT trip to the COP.

Also, the law says, re-availing ones self of the protection of the COP (if you are an asylee/refugee, and not LPR according to the law) CAN be grounds for termination of asylum/refugee status IF one "voluntarily availed himself or herself of the protection of the alien's country of nationality or, in the case of an alien having no nationality, the alien's country of last habitual residence, by returning to such country with PERMANENT RESIDENT STATUS or the reasonable possibility of obtaining such status with the same rights and obligations pertaining to other permanent residents of that country".

The immigration authorities understand all of this and that is why WHEN you are questioned by them about a short trip, IF you can explain yourself and show that you did not go there as a permanent resident of your COP or were seeking such status or any other protection from your COP, and you are still fearful to go there as a permanent resident of that country, they will consider it legitimate and let u go (at the POE or during your Citizenship). You can even sometimes see people who are not questioned at all about their short temporary trips. That is not because the immigration authorities missed anything or are too lazy to investigate, it is because it is obvious from the evidence that it was not done so as a permanent resident of that country or to seek such status in your COP.

There is a reason why there is an emphasis on this clause of the immigration law and why re-availing of the protection of the COP is considered, when the individual goes there with permanent resident status of that country or seeking such status. It is because fear of persecution applies almost to everyone in that case. I personally know of asylum cases based on possibility of future persecution without any or significant past persecution, where the individual is in no immediate danger if they return temporarily on a short trip, but will DEFINITELY get persecuted if they have to live there permanently based on the merits of their asylum case. And none of this, in any of the cases where hidden from the immigration authorities. They were all declared and discussed. Now if someone has claimed that they are flagged and are being followed in their COP and are already in immediate danger if they go back, and they return and get captured or risk doing so, then its their stupidity and they should prepare to explain them selves if they were questioned about it. However, this does not apply to everyone.

I don't think you really read what I wrote in my original post. You just stated something general that was discussed before. As soon as you saw the words return and COP, you went back to your previous arguments. I know what your take on this matter is and I have seen and read your arguments. You like many others see this issue only in black and white. I certainly don't. I think the immigration authorities don't see it in black and white either. If they did, we would have seen a lot of people with asylum/refugee status or LPR status, deported back after their statuses were revoked solely because they went on single or multiple short trips, which we don't. Trust me, none of this applies to people with fraudulent cases. And I do not support that. Please do not argue with me on this issue. I am NOT encouraging economic asylum or asylum fraud here. All I am saying is, returning to COP on one or more occasions as a temporary visitor on a short trip does not mean you have no fear and that you case was fraudulent. Permanently as a permanent residence of that country however, that is a red flag. That is why the immigration law clearly states and emphasizes on the word PERMANENT, as part of their asylum termination grounds immigration provisions. I also think there is no clear immigration provision directly prohibiting LPRs based on asylum/refugee status from visiting their previous COP, because they have already settled here and have become the permanent residents of the US and it does not make sense for them to seek permanent resident status of their COP.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

arsen098

Registered Users (C)
#5
I agree with you, "tributeblinky", I know 2 people, who went in their COP with GC ( obtained after "white card") and did not have a problem when come back in USA. But what do you think - when they will apply on the US passport can it be a problem (I mean extending time when USCIS consider application N-400) ?
 

tributeblinky

Registered Users (C)
#6
Hey Arsen,

That would be case specific. And I too would like to hear about those people's experience with the Citizenship process, whom got their GC through asylum and went to COP. I think there was a sticky created for that. I have to look for it and see if i can find it.
 
Top