Asylum seeking is an epic tale of hope, courage, and resilience for Ghanaians seeking asylum in the US. Thousands have traversed a challenging yet life-altering path to secure safety, stability, and a better life.
In this article, we will look into factors driving Ghanaians towards asylum-seekers seeking entry to the United States, obstacles they encounter along the journey, and all that lies within this asylum application and processing process.
Push Factors of Ghanaian Asylum Seekers
Ghana is one of the countries with a high rate of applications for asylum in the United States.
Individuals in Ghana sometimes encounter political persecution because of their affiliations, beliefs, or activism. Opposition figures, journalists, and human rights advocates frequently find themselves at odds with government authorities, which causes them to fear for their safety and seek asylum abroad.
Ghana has an unfortunate history of discrimination and violence towards its LGBTQ+ population, from the legalization of same-sex relationships leading to persecution, harassment, and even physical attacks against these Ghanaians who live openly as LGBTQ. Many seek asylum in America to escape this oppressive regime.
Despite Ghana's vast religious diversity, minority religious groups may experience discrimination or violence due to persecution; some individuals seek asylum to practice their faith freely without fear of prosecution.
While Ghana's economy has steadily expanded, income disparity still poses an acute problem. Many Ghanaians struggle to meet daily expenses and look abroad for better economic prospects - many opting to go to the United States instead.
The Asylum Process: Seeking Protection in the United States
Seeking asylum in the US is a legal process that enables individuals fleeing persecution in their home countries to apply for protection here in America. Here's an overview of this procedure:
Arrival in the US
To apply for asylum in the U.S., asylum seekers must arrive physically. They can do this either through an official port of entry or after entering unannounced.
Application for Asylum
Within one year of their arrival, asylum seekers must file Form I-589 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), outlining the reasons they seek asylum and evidence supporting this application. This form outlines why asylum is desired while documenting any persecution or fear thereof they are currently facing.
Once their applications are accepted, asylum seekers undergo an interview with an asylum officer in which they provide more details about themselves and why they fear persecution in their home countries.
Credible Fear Screening or Interview
Suppose an asylum officer determines there is credible fear of persecution. In that case, their case moves on to a credible fear interview and, should the asylum seeker pass, can continue with the asylum process.
Immigration Court Proceedings
Suppose an asylum officer does not find credible fear. In that case, an asylum seeker can ask an immigration judge for review - initiating a lengthy and complex legal battle that may last months or years to settle.
An immigration judge decides if an asylum seeker qualifies for asylum, allowing them to live and work legally in the US until permanent residency can be applied later.
Obstacles to Getting Asylum in the United States
Seeking asylum can be arduous, with those taking this path often encountering multiple hurdles and dangers.
Unfortunately, Ghanaians can become victims of human traffickers who promise assistance on their journeys to America but take advantage of them instead. They may endure abuse, exploitation, and inhumane conditions during this process.
Asylum seekers often embark on perilous journeys across several countries to the United States to obtain asylum; crossing borders and traversing unfamiliar terrain while dodging authorities can be hazardous and life-threatening.
After arriving in the U.S., asylum seekers may be detained in immigration detention centers offering little more than temporary shelter. Conditions in such detention facilities can be hostile and overcrowded - seriously impacting their mental and physical well-being.
Asylum seekers often require professional legal counsel for assistance during asylum applications. Navigating immigration law alone may prove daunting and unnerve even those without legal representation.
Seeking asylum from Ghana to the United States can be an arduous and dangerous journey driven by political persecution, discrimination, and economic hardships.
Once they arrive in America, they often encounter perilous journeys, risks of exploitation, and an intricate legal system to navigate before finding safety in America - but for many, it represents hope - this journey needs more awareness to foster empathy and offer assistance for those escaping to freedom through seeking asylum here.