American Citizens Seek Asylum in Great Britain

by Jason Dzubow on October 25, 2010

in Asylum Seekers, International

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We usually think of the United States as a country where people fleeing persecution come to seek asylum.  But sometimes, American citizens flee their country in search of safety elsewhere. 

The British Daily Mail reports that five Americans currently have asylum cases pending in the UK.  The cases came to light earlier this month when a whistleblower, Rory Clarke of the National Asylum Support Service, made the information public.  According to Mr. Clark, the Americans are in Great Britain to take advantage of the posh benefits available to asylum seekers.  These benefits include free housing and healthcare, and £35 per week.  In some cases, asylum seekers can receive benefits for years before their claims are rejected.  Mr. Clarke says that he was so shocked by this abuse of the system that he resigned his job.

Asylum Seekers in the UK enjoy government-sponsored meals and accommodation.

The five Americans are not the only U.S. citizens to seek asylum abroad.  The Guardian reports that between 2004 and 2008, 45 Americans (and 15 Canadians) filed for asylum in the UK.  All 60 cases were rejected.

The basis for most claims was not revealed.  However, a US government source said the American applications were most likely submitted by self-declared “political refugees” claiming they faced discrimination under the administration of President Bush.  An on-line posting by an alleged American refugee claimed that he was seeking sanctuary in Scotland because he had been “persecuted as a political dissident against US government war-mongering.”

According to the Guardian:

A small number of Americans have successfully claimed asylum abroad over the past few decades. In 1997 the Netherlands granted asylum to Holly Ann Collins, together with her three children, when they claimed to be fleeing domestic abuse. The family had spent three years living in four different Dutch refugee camps before their application was approved [she returned to the U.S. in 2008 where she pled guilty to contempt of court].  In June 2008 Texan mother Chere Tomayko and her two daughters were granted asylum in Costa Rica, also on the grounds of abuse.

There also have been cases recently of Americans seeking asylum in Canada in order to avoid service in Iraq and Afghanistan.  In fact, there is a website devoted to war resisters in Canada.

While the idea of U.S. citizens seeking asylum abroad seems a bit suspect, I suppose I agree with Donna Covey, the chief executive of the Refugee Council in the UK, who says: “No country is safe for every person all of the time. Those with a genuine need for protection, whatever country they are from, should have the right to claim asylum in a place of safety.”

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

U.S. citizen in Geneva September 10, 2014 at 3:24 pm

See paragraph 4: “Considérant qu’en jugeant que, dès lors que MmeA…, ressortissante des Etats-Unis d’Amérique, se trouvait en Suisse au moment de l’examen du recours… “


U.S. citizen in Geneva September 10, 2014 at 3:22 pm

My U.S. citizen asylum ruling in the French Supreme Court is online here:

I had the U.S. ‘interfering’ in Geneva (my home of 16 years), and I had to file asylum in France. The U.S. came over to France, and I had to come back to Geneva. My case got re-opened (the case was closed twice because I was outside France, and re-opened because my case was so serious) was the subject of the Supreme Court quash ruling (decision 363 862) . All of it was immunized under a terror-law. Very strange.


Amber September 4, 2014 at 8:47 am

I wish we could just trade citizenships with people. UK for USA anyone?


Bill P August 12, 2014 at 9:57 pm

People need to realize how barbaric the criminal justice system in the U.S., if you have a felony conviction even a non violent thing like DUI your barred from everything.So, no matter how hard you try to turn it around they will not allow you.I was sentenced to 6-months in jail in which I worked everyday in their kitchen, they charged me $80/day for the jail stay, no credit for any labor time ?? Plus $4,000 fine on top, that’s $20,000 plus a six month jail term for a misdemeanor DUI ??


andy August 5, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Well I am a Brit and I’d love to claim asylum anywhere just to stop getting persecuted by the taxman!


Jason Dzubow August 5, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Hell, if you find a place, let me know.


Jason Storey October 8, 2014 at 8:36 am

If you think paying taxes is oppressive you’re reading the wrong bloody article. Some people are forced into poverty and have no way out and if they get jail terms for anything it ruins their entire lives. You whining about taxes makes you look like a flat out twat.


Jason Dzubow October 8, 2014 at 1:38 pm

I think both comments were kind of a joke. That said, good use of the word “twat.”


Mark July 27, 2014 at 8:23 am

I am unsure where to go. I was told that it is easier for them to kill me in other countries than in the usa. at least some of the persecution has stopped. I hope i can find a nation of refuge.


jetlag700 July 13, 2014 at 8:21 am

Criminals should be barred entry to Canada…..and as for gays and lesbians claiming persecution, that is silly, the USA has made it safe for gays and lesbians, they have all kinds of special rights and privileges, so it is ludicrous to claim asylum in any country, if anything, it’s people who disagree with gays and lesbians who need asylum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Tim June 24, 2014 at 8:16 pm

I’m confused. You can claim asylum on the grounds of committing crimes and having warrants for your arrest?


Jason Dzubow June 27, 2014 at 10:35 am

No – the claim was based on the excessive punishment for the crime, not on the basis of being a criminal.


Crystal May 10, 2014 at 3:45 pm

I remarried my youngest daughter, who is now 16 1/2 years old biological father last year. He was convicted of CSC in 2001 against a unrelated minor. Simply for remarrying him and trying to put my family back together. I am being prosecuted for “threatened harm” to my child because I am allowing her biological father back into our lives. I have committed no crime. My husband has committed no recent crime. Only the one in 2001 which he served his time for. Due to this “threated harm” charge I was fired from my job of 10 years. The court ordered my husband out of the home even though he hasn’t done anything. So far I had to liquidate my retirement to pay for an attorney to represent me. Nearly $30,000, so far gone to protect my family from this insane harassment. I have considered seeking political asylum for my family but don’t know where to go with dwindling funds and my employer black balling me from potential employment opportunities. By the way I worked for the State of Michigan. Any suggestions on where to go to keep my family together and where to find employment to support them?


wally December 14, 2014 at 11:04 pm

Hi crystal.
Can i ask you how much time did ur husband do in jail for CSC???


trystan April 30, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Could anyone offer a 20 year oldNon-binary queer person advice on seeking asylum in sweden? I live in the state of louisiana at constant risk of the gun toting anti-lgbt vigilantes and falling victim to the constant barrage of religious and political movements. my chances of achieving higher education are nil due to the current theme of entrapping young people in minimum wage jobs with highly irregular schedules that force them to live paycheck to paycheck and make it difficult to simultaneously hold two jobs. I have no clue how to proceed in life and this country and its people seem intent on stopping any progress as best they can.


Jason Dzubow May 1, 2014 at 9:11 am

I do not know about the law in Sweden, but if it is the same as in the US, you would need to show that you cannot relocate anywhere in the country. So in other words, if you could safely live in NY, you would not qualify for asylum in Sweden. Of course, the law may be different there, so it is worth contacting an attorney in Sweden before you take any action. I wish you good luck, Jason


Victim to NaziAmerica April 20, 2014 at 1:34 am

Thank you for any help you can provide. Good luck and best wishes to all!


Victim to NaziAmerica April 20, 2014 at 1:34 am

US Government is stealing homes & retirements in Nevada and several other states. Dirty cops and judges are have THREATENED the FREEDOM of foreclosure victims.

Is there an organization or attorney that can assist with political asylum to LEAVE Amerika?


aspekx January 4, 2014 at 2:06 pm

i have to admit i have been considering this. i doubt it’s possible. but with the new healthcare law (which i wholeheartedly supported) i am one of a number of poor who will slip between the cracks.

i take care of my elderly father and have several health problems myself. my state’s legislature along with a number of others has voted to reject any federal aid which would extend benefits to people like myself.

without healthcare and mental healthcare i really have no hope of becoming a productive member of society again. and certainly no chance of providing assistance for my parents in their old age.

what i am trying to discover is whether the UN Declaration of Human Rights, arts. 22 and 25 apply to me or people like me.


Randy Drake December 31, 2013 at 2:15 pm

I am a US Citizen considering seeking asylum in Canada. I am a convicted felon for forging prescription drugs to feed my addiction. I recently relapsed in active Opiate Addiction resulting in new felony theft charges. I have violated my probation by a new theft charge. I fled probation in order to seek residential treatment for my addictive disease. The last I knew probation had a warrant issued in order to keep me in jail pending a Probation Revocation Hearing which could be indefinitely. I am looking at doing hard prison time in spite of seeking treatment for my addiction. The recommendation of the treatment team was continued Suboxone treatment where my prognosis is very good. Without this treatment it is very poor. I believe incarcerating me and denying the Suboxone treatment needed is inhumane punishment. Is there any way I can seek asylum in Canada? I have professional skills as a licensed mental health and addiction therapist and would be able to work and provide to the economy. Please let me know what to do? I am desperate. I have a good friend in Ontario considered family and could live there. Thanks for your time.
Randy Drake, MA, LMHC, IADC, NCC, MAC


Khaled Dandachli December 27, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Can canadian citizen seeking refugee in Europe “Norway” ?
And what is the low says?


Nicolas December 8, 2014 at 1:31 am

Why would a canadian declare asylum anywhere? Sure maybe Norway is better but Canada is so great as well.


Socialmedic November 23, 2013 at 9:13 pm

I don’t think anyone in any first world country would feel suspect about americans trying to leave America … just look at the ridiculousness about trying to get Americans health insured because their beloved private sector is too cheap to pay for it – health care privileges that first world nations don’t think twice about. America also robs its youth of life after college by saddling its students with six figures of un-payable debt, thus denying them the financial appropriateness and hence the right to marry and have children. Wealth in America has one aim, to spread its corporate fascism globally and to cheat its own citizens out of opportunities under the guise of Asians work harder. I know that claim is crap because I have had my own foreign friends remark to me that they have never seen people work so hard as Americans. I find this allegation toward Americans both racist and insulting. But under these kinds of circumstances, who wants to stay? Who wants to be treated like their work is of no value because a few rich people want to hire Asians for less money, thus driving the entire nation out of decent paying work and benefits, out of work altogether. England and Europe needs to realize that America is not what it was and greedy corporations and turning the nation into a third world country. They are violating our human rights. And they are abusing our political process to do it.


Anonymous for now August 9, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Many citizens of the USA require asylum…
I am mentally ill and unemployed, but because my illness does not on paper make me unemployable, I have no current benefits and therefore lack the medications I am supposed to be taking on a daily basis. Is there such a thing as medical asylum, or anything that can get me the help I need?


Jason Dzubow August 11, 2013 at 10:12 am

I am not sure that your situation would qualify you for asylum in another country or – even if you did relocate to another country – that the new country could/would offer you the services you need. Depending on where you live in the US, there may be charitable organizations (like Catholic Charities) that can offer you assistance. If you have not already done so, it may be better to learn about the resources available here before you try to seek help in another country. You have a tough situation – I wish you the best.


Mr. B July 28, 2013 at 8:52 pm

I am also a registered sex offender. When I was 19 i was charged with “sexual conduct with a minor”. She was 14 and it was consensual. I did not serve prison time even though the standard sentence was 10 years in state prison. I am however serving a sentence of lifetime probation. I am now 29 and because i recently had sex with a woman age 26 who has a criminal history I may now be facing my maximum prison term of 15 years in prison. I feel that this may be extreme punishment especially since the “crime” happened over 10 years ago. I have not been charged or convicted of any crime since. I now wish to seek asylum in another country, or permanent work status without fearfear of extradition back to the U.S. I can keep my job now as it is internet based and I can work from anywhere so proving income should not pose an issue to any country that may consider my case. Can you possibly point me in the right direction? A lawyer maybe that might help or rights groups that specialize in this sort of thing? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!


I wish to remain anonymous June 25, 2013 at 4:12 pm

In 2003, I was arrested for possession of child pornography. (Very long story.) I did not touch anyone, nor did I (nor do I) wish to have sex with a minor. I served my time, got released and a job. (Not a great one, but a job none the less.) I had to sign a ton of papers, none of which was I allowed to read, let alone have a lawyer review. I was placed under the supervision of my state’s division of parole, kept my registration up to date, and all of my appointments with parole.
This past January (2013), in one of my routine visits, I was told to surrender my mobile for inspection. I thought nothing of it, and did as asked (watching the clock so I could make it to work that night). I was shocked when I was informed that I was being arrested for possession of a device that had internet access and for being on the internet, as well as for being on a “social networking” site. (Those who know about adam4adam would not exactly call it social networking, except very loosely defining the term.)
This is the only violation I have had in the 5+ years since my release, and they want to give me 18+ months state time for a minor violation. I am trying to get asylum, but since I lost my job due to the arrest, I can’t afford to even get out of my state, let alone the country! I’ve tried Sweden, but I have to make it there in order to claim it to them, and even then, it’s not a sure thing. I’m trying other countries (even Cuba, at this point), but none will reply back.
Members of my family have fought in every war since 1720, and I hate the thought of leaving, but the harsh and over punitive laws of amerika have made it impossible for me to stay.


Joseph Wagner June 10, 2013 at 9:36 pm

U.S. service number 2540757. We young Marines were encouraged to torture to the death Vietnamese prisoners for not giving us information. I lost confidence in the military and felt ashamed of the uniform I wore. It was like being a young German in a Nazi uniform. I rebelled and the found myself shivering in a cold cell with out enough food or clothes to keep warm. When I started having trouble breathing I was refused medical attention. My father came to visit me and found me unable to walk because I could not breath. I was hospitalized with pneumonia. I was discharge because I would not conform to Marine Corp discipline.
Criminal record in Orlando Florida CR96-7364 I had a lawsuit against an Orlando cop Edwin Garcia for writing a false police report about me. At the same time of the lawsuit, Orlando Officer Edwin Garcia had an unregistered 357 handgun in his airport police locker. This hidden weapon was revealed 4 days after the lawsuit. The State and FBI has been notified of the situation and has done nothing.
Brazil has retirement visas and friendly beautiful people. tchau


Jason Dzubow June 11, 2013 at 12:53 pm

To paraphrase Alan Moore: There’s asylum, and there’s asylum. I wish you well in Brazil – I am jealous.


EEPS May 21, 2013 at 11:22 pm

The U.S. has not been good for me. I have been discriminated against in Minnesota for not being Nordic (blonde and blue) and for having a Brit Sur Name since childhood. I had everything taken from me in Divorce “Family” Court after 18 years of marriage. He remarried for 18 months and then died of cancer, and now the second wife (employed by U.S. Bancorp) is his beneficiary to everything we once had, that I worked for and earned, regardless of the fact that I am the mother to his only son. The Minnesota Appellate Court published inaccurate “facts” about my marriage on the Internet for anyone to “google” and then refused to take down the link unless I paid a Lawyer thousands of dollars (I could not afford it). I was arrested and held in jail immediately after my Divorce for three days without a hearing, and the Guards told me they “lost” my paperwork. If my father had not come to the courthouse the third day and insisted upon my release I believe I would have “gone missing”. They would not even release me to my father from Jail that day. Instead they pushed me out of the front door of the Jail at night in the winter, forcing me to call a cab. A false police report was filed against me, (Misdemeanor Charges) and the lies are still on my public record so I can’t get a decent job. I was ready to buy a plane ticket to Europe in 2006, but a social worker talked me out of it, because she didn’t want me to abandon my child. I pray each day that he will return home from public school on the public school bus that I have to pay for out of my own pocket. My home was in the process of foreclosure for 4 years during the U.S. Housing Crisis. The State Health Care system “deleted” me in 2010, the same time that I received the Final Notice from the Bank to vacate my home due to Foreclosure. The County Worker told me in 2013 that they had not heard from me in three years even though I had been paying Healthcare Premiums into the State Healthcare System consistently each month for the entire 3 years. My family lines trace back for more than 4 generations in the U.S. and Minnesota, yet I feel neither stable or happy here. My siblings and cousins no longer associate with me out of fear of social reprisal. I have no friends. My telephone has been tapped since 2002. The County Prosecutor’s Office sent me letters notifying me of this wire tapping even though I had not broken any law. This all seems to me like “forced migration” out of the U.S. and I wonder if I could even seek Asylum in another country. If I could gain Asylum, what would make me any safer somewhere else? The Political Gang Stalkers are electronically networked now with Internet, iPhone and GPS. So much for a Social “Security” Number.


karen webster February 16, 2013 at 10:47 am

i am a Britsh citizen who lived in the U.S for over 40 yrs, all my family are there including 6 children, i was deported to U.K for committing an aggrevated felony, i got a 16 month sentence for a first offence, i served 9 month 22 days, not knowing by pleading nolo contendre would open up the door to immigration. I was deported with no ties, no family or friends in U.K, it wasnt till i was on my way to the airport in san francisco that the immigration officer informed me that i had a life ban….. a life ban for a first offense, 5yrs, 10 yrs i could accept that but a life ban, my baby was only 2 1/2 yrs old and 4 of my children under the age of 12 ys old, my husband served in desert storm and couldnt even voice his desire for his wife and mother of his children to get a second chance, i recieved a life sentence……what happened to my human rights, my childrens rights to have their mother with them,what happened to paying your debt to society and have a second chance, im worth a second chance, Immigration is all about money, it doesnt matter if u are separated from your children, that children are living in homes with 1 parent, or that every one deserves a second chance ……….. please feel free to comment on my story, but please do not comment that i should have not have broken the law in the first place, as i said i have paid this debt, feel free to offer any advice on my situation, or any legal advice that will help me get back to my family…… thankyou


traumatizedbyteachers January 10, 2013 at 9:08 pm

I am an american who would like to seek asylum after i turn eighteen in nine months (I’m 17 now). I have Asperger’s syndrome and have been discriminated against for a long time. First of all, certain teachers deny me my rights and make horrible comments about my sicknesses. I get sick a LOT. Another instance, was when i got caught with artwork deemed “pornography” at my school and they got the police involved. The officer told me it’s a crime for anyone under 18 to draw nude artwork in their own HOME!!!!! I am also an author who writes about the crusades and the hashashin, but i fear my works would make me an easy target for all the right-wing crazies in the United States. I’m wondering if my fears are legitimate for asylum.


Jason Dzubow January 10, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Thank you for the comment. While your situations sounds pretty terrible, it is not normally the type of problem that would qualify a person for asylum. I don’t mean to say that it is impossible that you could receive asylum, but you would certainly want to talk to a good lawyer before you think about such a move. Also, normally a person cannot get asylum if there is anywhere in his country that he can live safely. Perhaps once you are 18, you can move to a new location in the US where you will not need to deal with these negative people. Finally, you might want to contact a local Aspergers support group, as maybe they could offer you some assistance. Here is a link that might be useful: I wish you well dealing with your situation, Jason


henry knox October 5, 2012 at 9:00 pm

If the current administration gains another 4 years unrestrained by the need to face re-election there will be many more Americans seeking asylum. America will transform from a country that needs to build walls to keep people out, to one that builds walls to keep them in. They are already building legal walls to keep them in and that process will accelerate in the next 4 years. Will there be a free nation left on earth? If so, where?


Dennis Morris August 7, 2012 at 7:09 pm

In my particular case, my privacy rights have been violated up to and including some of my very thoughts. Law enforcement, in all forms, consistently prove to be outwardly useless; Americans, who would start a war within if their arms were taken from them, practice a silence beyond the imaginable, easily trading off the public’s right to Free Speech for some ungodly gain. I was once proud of this country and of being an American; now, I am ashamed of both. Despite this country’s riches, the United States is no place to raise children, no place to start a business, and no place to live from my perspective. I would say this even if the Presidency were given to me tomorrow. Our violent undercurrent and inability to change in light of greater wisdom has destroyed the country we were supposed to be — the remainder of our fall, if nothing changes, is simply academic. We are a nation with force and positioning, but without future. Dennis Morris 310 487 4272


T.W February 2, 2012 at 7:51 am

American’s seeking asylum is not suspect. No country is perfect. If you doubt this look at all organizations and individuals that have to deal with some form of persecution. Educate yourself before passing judgement. View the listed websites to gain some perspective.

To say that all Political Asylum seekers are suspect due to their country of origin is an act of discrimination and cruelty.


Flip January 19, 2012 at 5:38 pm

I’m an American and my partner and I wish to seek asylum in the UK because we cannot be recognized as a “legal entity” as in a marriage. We cannot reap the benefits of being legally married or joined in a domestic partnership. How can a country do this to its people? I’m not a second class citizen because I’m gay and to be constantly exposed to the opposing views of the representives of our States, how can anyone live a fulfilling life while viewed as a just that, as second class citizens. Is it morally wrong for me to marry the one I love? Is it morally wrong for a country to deny my happiness? Is it morally wrong for a country to deny asylum to humans seeking happiness that are from other countries that deny them this happiness?


blacklisted by doctors November 12, 2011 at 7:45 pm

I am an American citizen seeking asylum because I believe the doctors in the U.S. are deliberately causing me harm. I’ve been writing letters or protests but then I came across a site on YouTube addressing the issue of “Greedy American doctors” and President Obama was discussing doctors that ROUTINELY perform amputations on patients because they get more money for doing the amputation than they would for treating the wound/ulcer/sore the patient may have.

A doctor didn’t tell me for six years that I was diabetic. I am going blind and not being treated. I have been told that I am in danger because I have complained. I was dismayed by watching President Obama discuss this issue because that means that people know this is happening and nothing is being done about it. Yes, the U.S. most definitely does have human rights issues and should not be routinely turned away when seeking asylum!


Anonymous April 29, 2011 at 8:47 am

I do hope the more people inspect the issue of Americans seeking asylum. I believe there will be an increase. Doing an Internet search few articles are written about it and that shows the lack of concern. I do hope more attorneys and people take an interest in Americans seeking asylum. I recommend for those who do want to seek asylum in Europe, that they travel there, find a job, even overstay before going to the Migration Board. Declaring things at the airport is not the way. Your chances are increased if you have employment. I mean, follow the example of those who come to the USA illegally. It is slightly harder because you don’t have roots. By that I mean, there aren’t a bunch who have come before…family or whatever that could help you out. Usually once one has been let in, others of the same family follow. But the one has to go through the harder experience for everyone else. Most Americans don’t have the luxury.


Anonymous April 29, 2011 at 8:36 am

Americans seeking asylum shouldn’t be suspect. I like to remind people of the Church Report, a report that could not be done today. People view the USA from a simple vacation or television, but the USA does human rights abuses too, but they are not talked about. Because people see the USA, even the citizens view themselves through tv, people just roll their eyes when Americans start discussing human rights abuses. I am an American who sought asylum in Sweden and like most Americans was denied. Reason I feel because no country in the developed world will admit that the USA commits human rights abuses. What country you are from matters. If you are targeted by America, it is a curse to be born there. It is better to be born in Africa or Iraq or Mexico you can get asylum anywhere. The immigration standards are quite low in the USA and the agencies are more vocal it seems. I don’t know if that translates into ‘real’ assistance. I had a hearing on 2/23/11 I believe and the decision was written and rendered 3/18/11 without ability for a ‘real’ appeal.


mISHO January 14, 2011 at 9:00 am

i just had an incident wher ei was pulled over and the cop planted a gun in my car–or it was there , when i rented it from hertz? either way–if found guilty -im facing 20 yrs in prison..where can i be GRANTED asylum? I simply want to help the community and live in peace , with out living in this war mongering country? what should i do–wher eis is ABSOLUTELY SAFE TO LIVE?-I HWOULD HATE TO LEAVE MY HOME, BUT I WOULD RATHER BE FREE! GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH!


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