I’m Venezuelan. Do I qualify for asylum?
Answer: Not all Venezuelans qualify for asylum. To qualify for asylum you must establish that you cannot return to your native country due to past (or future) persecution specifically because of a protected reason, which includes your political opinion, race, religion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group (for example homosexuals). You must also establish the government authorities in your country are the persecutors, or that they are unable or unwilling to control your persecutors.
As a result, general crimes, including kidnapping and theft—when not connected to a protected reason—would not qualify for asylum. It is also important to note that “persecution” connotes an extreme concept in asylum law, and mere threats alone are insufficient to warrant asylum. These are likely the overwhelming reasons that many Venezuelans claim for asylum are denied, particularly where an economic motive (i.e. a ransom) by an attacker is overemphasized.
If you are considering filing for asylum, it is immensely important that you engage an attorney who will help you understand the legal requirements and help you emphasize the strong aspect of your claim.