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The Asylum Guidebook

The Asylum Guidebook: Understand What It Takes To Win Asylum is written by attorney Ben Baumgartner and is available for free download. The book is meant to provide background and knowledge to potential asylum seekers so they can better understand the basic legal requirements of asylum. In addition, The Asylum Guidebook is intended to educate the wider public on asylum in order to depoliticize it and bring understanding about this basic human right. 



"Before discussing the meaning of these five protected grounds, it is critical to see what is not on this list. First, crime is not on this list. So if you fear being hurt in your country because there are many robberies, kidnappings, or shootings that could happen randomly to anyone, this will not qualify you for asylum. Second, you might be surprised to see that war is not on the list. The fact your country is very dangerous because of a war does not, by itself, mean you can get asylum. Even if there is a war in your country, you still must show your fear is connected to one of the five protected grounds. Third, fearing a life of poverty or poor economic conditions is not a reason that will qualify you for asylum."

"Another common way the 'for reasons of' requirement comes up is when a persecutor has multiple reasons for persecuting an asylum applicant, some of which are protected grounds and some of which are not. This is called the 'mixed motive' issue. For example, if a group of police are beating a person because he belongs to a religious minority group, this is a protected ground (religion). But, the police may also be trying to force the person they are beating to give them money because they know that person has money. Having money is not a protected ground of persecution. Thus, one of the reasons the police are beating the person is sufficient for asylum purposes (religion), while the other is not (money). The persecution must be 'for reasons of' a protected ground, but what exactly does this mean in a case like this?" 

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