RELIEF UNDER THE CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE (CAT)
If you fear you will be tortured if forced to return to your home country, you may eligible for relief under the Convention Against Torture (i.e. CAT). Under the Convention Against Torture, the United States is prohibited from deporting you to a country where you are more likely to than not to be subject to torture.
To be granted relief under CAT, you must show that it is “more likely than not” that you will be tortured if you are forced to return to your home country. However, unlike asylum and withholding of removal, you are not required to show that you will be tortured because of your race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group to be granted CAT. To be eligible for relief under CAT, you must establish:
- The harm you fear must meet the definition of “torture”, which requires severe physical or mental pain and/or suffering;
- The harm you fear will be intentionally inflicted upon you;
- The harm is inflicted upon you to obtain information or a confession from you or another person, punish you for your conduct or the conduct of another, intimidate you or another person, and/or coerce you or another person; and
- The torture must be inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent and acquiescence of a public official who has custody or physical control of the victim.
CAT can only be granted by an Immigration Judge. This means CAT is only available as a defense to removal. If granted CAT, you may remain in the United States and be eligible for employment authorization.
CAT is often a last resort, because it is a more tenuous immigration status. When you are granted CAT, you are ordered removed from the United States. CAT only applies to the country which the Immigration Judge designates in his/her decision. This means you may still be removed from the United States to a third country where you do not have a fear of torture. Like withholding of removal, CAT can be terminated if you are no longer likely to face torture. You can be detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (i.e. ICE) even if granted CAT if you pose a danger to the community. In addition, like withholding of removal, there is
- No derivative immigration benefits for your spouse and/or children;
- No path to lawful permanent residence (i.e. a green card); and
- No permission to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad.