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How to Help: Ideas & Resources

There are many ways you can help a refugee in need today - even remotely. ​​ Whether it’s one day or a longer commitment, you can positively affect the lives of immigrants. 


What is Asylum?

Asylum is a form of humanitarian protection that can be granted to a person who has left their country and is seeking refuge from persecution or serious human rights violations. Under U.S. law, people who flee their countries because they fear persecution can apply for asylum in the United States. A grant of asylum allows the individual to remain in the United States instead of being removed (deported) to a country where they fear persecution or harm.


On What Basis Can a Person Qualify for Asylum in the United States?

To qualify for asylum in the United States, a person must show that they are unable or unwilling to return to their home country, or country of last residence, based on a well-founded fear of being persecuted (or by showing that they were persecuted in the past) on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.


How Can a Person Apply for Asylum in the United States?

Contrary to popular belief, there is no asylum visa for which a person can apply in their home country. The only way to apply for asylum in the United States is either to appear at an official port of entry (such as an airport or an official land crossing), or to already be in the United States. Foreign nationals who cross the border illegally are legally permitted to apply for asylum under U.S. law.


What is MPP?

Colloquially known as “Remain in Mexico,” the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program was implemented by the Trump Administration in January 2019. It required asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border to wait in Mexico for the duration of their U.S. immigration proceedings. The Biden Administration has twice tried to cancel the program, but was prevented from doing so by the Supreme Court. As of August 8, 2022, however, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that, because a federal court had lifted an injunction against the program, DHS was finally terminating MPP.


What is Title 42?

Enacted as part of the Public Health Service Act of 1944, Title 42 grants the U.S. government the ability to take emergency action to prohibit migrants from entering the country in order to prevent the “introduction of communicable diseases.” In March 2020, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) under President Donald Trump invoked Title 42 as a means of shutting down the U.S.-Mexico border. The Biden Administration announced on April 1, 2022, that it planned to end the use of Title 42 in May, but a federal judge entered an injunction to prevent the policy from ending.


What is Humanitarian Parole?

• Humanitarian parole allows an individual who may be inadmissible or otherwise ineligible for admission into the United States to be in the United States for a temporary period for urgent humanitarian reasons or a significant public benefit.

• Title 42 specifically includes a humanitarian exemption for anyone the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) determines should be allowed into the United States on “consideration of significant law enforcement, officer and public safety, humanitarian, and public health interests.”


(as of September 2022)

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