US Asylum law is notoriously unforgiving and the maze of technical requirements all too often result in otherwise-deserving applicants being denied asylum. One such requirement is that applicants file their application within one year of arriving in the US. Failure to timely file an application is a bar to asylum. This time-bar can, however, be overcome. For example, where an applicant can show a “change in country conditions” that materially affect his or her entitlement to asylum, the one-year time bar will be waived. In the case of Egyptian Christians I would argue that this criteria is currently present. Always a barely-tolerated minority, Egyptian Copts were never treated equally under the regime of former President Mubarak. For example, Moslem schools received Government funding and Christian schools did not and it was all but impossible to secure a permit to build a new Church or even to renovate an existing one. And these were just some of the daily indignities faced by Christians.
Since the Revolution that resulted in Mubarak’s ouster, however, there has been a three-fold increase in the number of attacks on Christians. Just a couple of days ago the world witnessed the military firing on a peaceful protest by Christians, using military vehicles to mow down civilians and acting with brutality that would have done any middle-eastern dictator proud. This unprovoked attack resulted in the deaths of at least 25 civilians. And this was just the latest in a relentless series of attacks on Christians while the military which is currently in control of the country looks the other way.
This is clearly a dangerous time for Egyptian Copts and in the face of these facts, it would seem that asylum claims by such individuals should be viewed in a different light than previously. Of course any case will always turn on its own facts. Merely being Christian and Egyptian should, but may not be enough to win an asylum claim. However, a skilled attorney who is capable of forceful advocacy on his or her clients’ behalf should have little difficulty in putting together a persuasive package. So if you are a Christian Egyptian who has been in the United States for more than a year, or even if you have just arrived, Click here to email me or call my office today at (914) 358-1400 to discuss whether you may qualify for asylum in the United States.