SAN FRANCISCO: US no longer number 1 destination for Pakistanis seeking asylum.
Even though the number of Pakistanis seeking refuge in other countries is increasing, those seeking asylum from the United States are declining in number. However, earlier than this the US was a country of priority for thousands of Pakistanis looking to move abroad.
In 2002, about 20% of the 7,000 Pakistanis applied to the US for asylum. In 2013, of more than 26,000 Pakistanis sought asylum, in sharp contrast to this in recent times only 2.5% are seeking entry into the United States. Pakistan ranks 6th among the countries with citizens seeking asylum. In 2013, Pakistan saw a rise of 11% in asylum-seekers, according to the UNHCR.
Usually, these asylum seekers are claiming asylum out of fear of persecution, from terrorists or extremist groups, a Washington DC-based lawyer who has taken on asylum cases. However, access to asylum in the US has become tremendously hard and burdensome because of changes to the application standards and a reduced rate of approvals. “Any applicant, including a Pakistani, has to prove credible fear of persecution, either in the past or in future if he or she returns to Pakistan.”
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USICS) and Department of Homeland Security data revealed that 4,113 applications of asylum-seekers were received from 2002 to April 2014. Around 1,736 applications were approved, 115 denied and 1,742 delivered judgment. These statistics do not include all nationals from Pakistan who applied for asylum during these years, he explained.