When seeking asylum in the United States, there are two main claims that a person can make. The first, which is more self-explanatory, is that they have already experienced persecution in their home country. If they return, they believe it will happen again. The second claim is that they have a well-founded fear of persecution.
This area can be a bit more gray, as it’s all about establishing a “reasonable” fear. That’s a subjective definition, but it generally means that anyone else in their position would also be afraid. They may not have experienced persecution yet, but they feel that it is coming and they can back that feeling up.
For instance, maybe they are part of an ethnic minority. That group is being persecuted extensively in the rural areas of the country. The reports have been on the news, showing that this is not just something they think is happening. It really is happening and there is evidence to prove it.
The person in question used to live in an urban center. They have not personally experienced the persecution happening in rural areas, but the movement is growing. They fear that, eventually, everyone in that ethnic group is going to be detained, injured or even killed. That’s why they left their home country and came to the United States.
In examining the evidence, it becomes clear to any reasonable person that, if they were also part of that group, they would fear for their safety or the safety of their family. Therefore, the person seeking asylum does not have to have a personal history of injury or discrimination. The environment they were living in was clearly unsafe. Sending them back to that country could result in persecution in the future. They will not be safe, so they can ask to stay in the United States, where the same persecution is not happening and they can live a healthy, happy life.
This is just one example, but it helps to show how someone who has not yet experienced negative actions against them may still be able to prove they are afraid. If you fall into this category, it’s critical to make sure you understand the legal options you have.