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How am I protected from religious persecution?

If you aim for asylum in California, you must have a reason to seek it. There are several valid reasons to seek asylum in the United States. Among the most popular reasons is seeking protection from religious persecution. 

But what does this mean in legal terms? How does the law view religious persecution in the United States, and how does it apply to you? 

Defining religion

Cato Institute takes a close look at religious persecution, dissecting what it means. First, what do you need to qualify for protection from religious persecution? Your case must fit the U.S. standards for both religion and persecution. 

U.S. law has no strict definition for religion. A definition runs counter to the idea of religious freedom due to the marginalization of world views. As such, “religion” as a term includes not only popular religions like Hinduism or Judaism. It also includes any small but sincere system of beliefs or practices that may or may not include a god or gods. 

In other words, your case applies if you are part of any religious minority in your home country. This includes if you are part of a lesser known belief system, or if you hold unusual views on more predominant religions. 

Defining persecution

The word “persecution” has a stricter definition. You must face economic, physical or psychological harm by your own government. If not the government, by groups that your government cannot or will not control. You can also apply without being individually targeted as long as your personal way of life ends up under threat or hindered. 

The last point is proving that your religion caused your persecution. This part is often trickier than you may expect. It is where having the legal aid of a professional could help the most.