Asylum, Withholding of Removal, Convention against Torture

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Asylum, Withholding of Removal, Convention against Torture


Thinking About My Claim
You can use this worksheet to help you prepare your application for protection in the United States and present your story to the Judge.

The reasons why I am seeking Asylum, Withholding, or Convention Against Torture


Ask yourself these general questions about why you are afraid to return to your home country. Try to answer them with as much detail as possible so that you will be prepared to explain your story to the Judge.
Why did I leave my home country?
Who am I afraid of?
Why am I afraid of them? Why do they want to harm me or others like me?
What do I think they will do to me if I return?
How do I think they will know that I am back?
Who else are they threatening & mistreating now? Are they people like me (in race, religion, nationality, etc?) How do I know this?

My experiences in the past


It is important to give the Judge specific and detailed information about the threats or harm that you have experienced to show why you are still afraid to return to your country now. Ask yourself the following questions about your previous experiences to help you answer the Judge’s questions with detailed information.

Experience 1: date: _____________


What happened to you? What happened to other people like you?_____________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Who did it to you? (for example, the government, police, rebels, religious groups, etc…) How can you identify them?_____________________________________________________________________________________

Why were they threatening or mistreating you?____________________________________________________

How do you know they were specifically targeting you?_____________________________________________

What did they say when they were threatening or mistreating you?___________________________________

For which of the five reasons? Circle any that apply: race/religion/nationality/social group/political opinion

How do you know?__________________________________________________________________________

Who else did they threaten or mistreat, if anyone?_________________________________________________

Did they threaten or mistreat your family or friends?________________________________________________


Experience 2: date: _____________



What happened to you? What happened to other people like you? ____________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________
Who did it to you? (for example, the government, police, rebels, religious groups, etc…) How can you identify them?_____________________________________________________________________________________
Why were they threatening or mistreating you?____________________________________________________

How do you know they were specifically targeting you?_____________________________________________


What did they say when they were threatening or mistreating you? _________________________________

For which of the five reasons? Circle any that apply: race / religion / nationality / social group / political opinion

How do you know?__________________________________________________________________________

Who else did they threaten or mistreat, if anyone?_________________________________________________

Did they threaten or mistreat your family or friends?________________________________________________





Experience 3: date: _____________


What happened to you? What happened to other people like you?_____________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________
Who did it to you? (for example, the government, police, rebels, religious groups, etc…) How can you identify them? ____________________________________________________________________________________
Why were they threatening or mistreating you?____________________________________________________

How do you know they were specifically targeting you? _____________________________________________

What did they say when they were threatening or mistreating you? _________________________________

For which of the five grounds? Circle any that apply: race / religion / nationality / social group /political opinion

How do you know?__________________________________________________________________________

Who else did they threaten or mistreat, if anyone?_________________________________________________

Did they threaten or mistreat your family or friends? ________________________________________________


Experience 4: date: _____________


What happened to you? Hat happened to other people like you?______________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________


Who did it to you? (for example, the government, police, rebels, religious groups, etc…) How can you identify them? ____________________________________________________________________________________
Why were they threatening or mistreating you?____________________________________________________

How do you know they were specifically targeting you? _____________________________________________

What did they say when they were threatening or mistreating you? _________________________________

For which of the five grounds? Circle any that apply: race / religion / nationality / social group /political opinion

How do you know?__________________________________________________________________________

Who else did they threaten or mistreat, if anyone?_________________________________________________

Did they threaten or mistreat your family or friends? ________________________________________________


What the lawyer for Immigration is likely to ask me at my Individual hearing


At your individual hearing, the lawyer for Immigration may ask questions to try to convince the Judge that you should not get protection in the United States. She may want to show that it is safe for you to return to your country, or that you are not eligible to win protection for some other reason. Ask yourself the following questions to help you answer the lawyer’s questions in court.

Can I identify those who harmed me? What were their names? Rank? Profession? Would you recognize them again? Would they recognize you?


Do I have proof that it is still unsafe for me to return home?

(for example, newspaper articles, death certificates, etc.)

Could I go somewhere in the country where I would be safe? Why or why not?

(This could be asked for any country, but especially for large countries with many different regions.)


Have the conditions in my country changed since I left it? Would this make it safe for me to return? More dangerous? (Is there is a new political regime in power? Has a war ended? Has a rebel movement been defeated? Have there been democratic elections? Has there been a coup?)

If I was mistreated previously, was it for a reason unrelated to one of the five grounds?



(for example, was it because of a civil war, was it due to poverty?)

Have I ever returned to my home country since I left it?

If so, how was I able to stay safe when I went back? Could I do this again?

Have I ever received permanent residency or protective status in another country? Could I return there now?

Have I ever threatened or mistreated others for reasons related to one of the five grounds?


Created by the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, Inc. The Florence Project grants permission for the copying of this document, as is, for personal use or for free distribution to the BICE, to individuals in BICE custody, or to not-for-profit entities that assist Immigration detainees.


FIRRP 04/07/03




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