As previous posts on this blog have talked about, people from all over the world are allowed to seek asylum in the United States if they are being persecuted on account of their religion, politics, race, nationality or social group.

Asylum is a process by which people who are already in the United States can remain in the country legally if they can get their application for asylum approved.

Asylum seekers are similar to refugees, with the biggest difference is that a refugee applies for permission to relocate to the United States because of persecution before they actually move to the country.

An asylum seeker, on the other hand, may be undocumented or may have been staying in the United States with permission for a number of years.

Many people seeking asylum are coming from Central America or South America. For instance, over 1 in 4 people seeking affirmative asylum in 2018, or  around 28,400, originally came from Venezuela. Likewise, over 5,000 from Venezuela sought defensive asylum.

United States authorities also saw a lot of asylum requests from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. By way of contrast, while Mexico had a significant number of asylum requests, the total was smaller than the other Latin American countries listed.

When it comes to the number of requests that the United States actually grants, the results were slightly different. In 2018, for example, the country granted 6,905 requests for asylum from residents of China.

Chinese nationals made up almost 18% of all granted asylum requests. While the government also granted over 6,000 asylum requests from citizens of Venezuela, prior to 2018, the United States was only granted in a few hundred cases each year.  The number of granted asylum requests to Chinese nationals has, on the other hand, been relatively consistent.

Ultimately, whether a person receives asylum in this country will depend on whether he or she meets the criteria and on whether he or she takes all the proper legal steps.

Still, knowing from what parts of the world asylees and potential asylees are coming may gave Arizonans some idea of how the government is approaching these cases.