Attorney Mark Arnecilla Commended for His Work in Immigration and Asylum

October 2, 2019

Recently, the National Immigrant Justice Center commended Attorney Mark Arnecilla for winning asylum for a woman from the Ukraine.

"Pro bono attorney Mark Arnecilla from Illinois Advocates won asylum for a woman from Ukraine, and she was also released from detention." - National Immigrant Justice Center Facebook feed.

Below, Mark describes the process of asylum for potential new clients who are interested in assistance with their immigration matters.

Asylum is a form of protection our government grants to foreign nationals who present themselves at a border or who are already in the United States and meet the definition of a refugee. A refugee is defined as a person who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her own home country and cannot obtain protection in the home country because of past persecution or a well-founded fear of being persecuted in the future on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. With some exceptions, a person must apply for asylum within one year of arriving in the U.S.

A person granted asylum is called an asylee. An asylee is authorized to work in the U.S., is eligible for a social security number, and after one year can apply for a green card or lawful permanent status.

Applying for asylum can either be affirmative or defensive. Affirmative asylum is when the applicant is in the U.S. and not in removal proceedings. The applicant presents himself or herself and asks for protection. Defensive asylum is when the applicant is in removal (deportation) proceedings and is asking the immigration judge not to deport him or her back to the home country because she fears she will be persecuted upon return.

Recently, IL Advocates obtained asylum from a lesbian from Ukraine. The client was in an abusive marriage and only later in life realized she was a lesbian. Our attorney successfully argued that as a lesbian, our client belonged to a particular social group (the LGBT community) and that even though the client was never persecuted for her sexual orientation, she had a well-founded fear of being persecuted in the future.

If you have questions regarding asylum or any other immigration matter, please contact us for a consultation. 

Illinois Advocates
77 W. Washington St.
Suite 2120
Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 312-818-6700
Fax: 312-492-4804