If you are seeking protection from persecution while already physically present within the U.S., you can seek asylum. In order to be granted asylum you must meet the definition of “refugee” and satisfy other eligibility requirements. There are two main procedures for claiming asylum in the United States: (1) affirmatively, by filing an application for asylum with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), or (2) defensively in removal proceedings. The law is the same for both processes. If your affirmative asylum application is denied, you will be put into removal proceedings and have the opportunity to present your asylum claim again to an immigration judge.
It is your burden to prove that you qualify for asylum. You must prove that you are outside your country of nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, are outside any country in which you have last habitually resided, and you are unable or unwilling to return to that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, and the country is unable or unwilling to protect you.
You must also prove that you cannot relocate to any part of that country and be safe. If you have been convicted of certain crimes you may be ineligible for asylum even if you prove it. Once your application is approved, you can file to bring over certain family members if they are still outside of the U.S. If they were in the U.S.at the time of your asylum application, you can include them in your application. After one year of asylee status, you may apply for permanent residence (green card).