Asylum Initiative

A Lifeline for Asylum Seekers

The Asylum Process

Seeking asylum in the U.S. is a difficult and complicated process. When asylum seekers ask for protection at our border, the government doesn’t just take their stories of threats, torture, and violence at their word. There is a lengthy and arduous procedure to follow, often with the asylum seeker remaining in a detention center for months until a judgement is delivered. Only about 10% of asylum cases heard by immigration judges in the Mid-South are granted favorable outcomes. 

The Burden of Proof

Individuals and families who are seeking asylum must prove that they have suffered persecution in the past or fear future persecution on account of their religion, political opinion, race, nationality, or membership in a particular social group. Asylum seekers must also prove that this persecution is at the hands of the government or by people whom the government is unable or unwilling to control. It is not enough to simply convince the judge that a person will be harmed or killed if deported—the harm must be for a specific reason, by specific actors, and it is the asylum seeker’s burden to prove each element of their case.

How MIA Can Help

MIA’s Asylum Initiative serves as a lifeline for asylum seekers detained in remote, rural settings. MIA helps asylum seekers understand why they have been detained, what documents they must produce to remain the U.S., what their rights and obligations are, whether they qualify for a bond, what to look for in lawyer or bonding company, and what recourse they have in appealing negative judgements.

It is easy to get lost in “legalese,” even when English is your first language—and we have served over 1,300 asylum seekers speaking nearly 20 languages through this program since April 2019. 

Expanding the Initiative

MIA is currently expanding the Asylum Initiative to include more comprehensive legal services and sophisticated technology-driven strategies for detained asylum seekers, who are often transferred through a network of detention facilities in remote locations throughout rural Mississippi and Louisiana.