The asylum status may be granted to those who are living in the U.S. and are unable to return to the country of citizenship due to the persecution or well-founded fear of persecution. Grounds for persecution could include religion, nationality, race, social, and political affiliation. The Refugee Act of 1980 governs the U.S. policy of asylum seekers in addition to refugee status. Those who are seeking asylum should file Form I-589 (Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal).
Those who are granted asylum will be able to live and work in the U.S. and apply for adjustment of status to permanent residency after one year. The Immigration Act of 1990 increased the number of asylees seeking to become permanent residents from 5,000 to 10,000 per year since 1991.
Once an application is submitted, the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) normally conduct an interview within 60 days. If the asylum officer is unable to find grounds for granting the request, it will be immediately reported to Executive Office for deportation. A judge will hear the referral in order to make a decision on the request. A judge could grant the status or order for deportation.