Asylum Granted in Court Despite Firm Resettlement Issue
February 15, 2024

Table of ContenTS

At the Law Offices of Sabrina Li, we recently had the honor of representing a couple who were just weeks away from their critical Individual Hearing in Immigration Court. After parting ways with their former attorney, they approached our firm, hoping to secure our expertise to strengthen and finalize their asylum case.

Last-Minute Decision to Change Attorney

Our clients, a husband and wife, came to our office just two months before a scheduled Individual Hearing in Immigration Court. They had previously been represented by a different attorney but were interested in finding someone to help them finalize their case and assist with their Individual Hearing. This was after their previous attorney, having given up the fight before it truly began, advised the clients that their case was hopeless and that they would be better off accepting DHS' offer for Prosecutorial Discretion (PD) for dismissal.

Complexity of Their Asylum Claim Due to Brief Residence in a Third Country

The clients’ case was particularly difficult as the husband and wife were of two different nationalities. The underlying claim was based on the wife’s fear of returning to her home country. After meeting in the United States, they moved to live in the husband’s home country, Ecuador. However, the country conditions forced the couple to travel back to the United States. his brief stay in Ecuador complicated their asylum claim, as their eligibility was threatened by a potential firm resettlement bar. An applicant is disqualified from asylum if, before coming to the United States, they have entered a third country where they had the option of permanent residence. Given that it was legally possible for our client to obtain legal status through her husband in Ecuador, we knew it was critical to their asylum claim to avoid a firm resettlement bar.  

Additionally, we knew the stakes were high for our clients as they had a United States citizen child and could no longer feel safe in either of their home countries. Thus, it was of the utmost importance that the family be allowed to remain in the safety of the United States.  

Strategic Legal Counsel and Court Preparation Lead to Victorious Outcome

Our firm diligently advised the client of the issues in their case, submitted additional documents for the final hearing to help strengthen their claim, and dutifully prepared both clients for both direct and cross examination in Court. We successfully argued that DHS has not met the initial burden of presenting prima facie evidence of an offer of firm resettlement.  

Our clients were shocked and thrilled when their application for asylum was granted! They are now allowed to permanently remain in the United States and are authorized to work as asylees. What’s more, our clients will be eligible to obtain a green card one year after their asylum grant!

Firm Resettlement: Be Aware of the Bars!

To be eligible for asylum, an applicant must establish they are unwilling or unable to return to their country of nationality of country of last habitual residence and are unable or unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country because of past persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The applicant must also establish they are not subject to any bars to asylum.  

The applicant is not eligible for asylum if they have already established permanent residence in another country before entering the United States. Permanent residence in this context means the individual has been offered permanent residency, citizenship, or a similar long-term status in another country. However, this does not apply if the person only traveled to or stayed in that country as part of their escape from persecution, did so with the sole intention of arranging further travel, and did not form significant connections in that country. Additionally, if a person's residency conditions were significantly and deliberately limited by that country's government to the point where true resettlement did not occur, they would not be considered as having firmly resettled.

Reach Out for Expertise

The Law Office of Sabrina Li has successfully assisted numerous clients in securing asylum grants, whether through USCIS or in immigration court. Our clients often express amazement at their 'miraculous' approvals, yet we attribute these victories to meticulous preparation and relentless advocacy. We understand that behind every 'miracle' is a foundation of hard work and unwavering commitment to our client’s American Dream.

If you or someone you know is navigating the complexities of an asylum case and in need of experienced legal professionals, the Law Offices of Sabrina Li stand ready to guide you to success. Contact us at (213) 375-8096 or via email at We are dedicated to providing the support you need—reach out to us today. We're not just your attorneys; we're your steadfast advocates.

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