Asylum, Withholding CAT

These three forms of relief from removal are significantly similar in that they all hinge on condition in the alien's country of citizenship. Asylum can be asserted both affirmatively and defensively, while withholding and deferral under CAT are defensive applications. These applications are sometimes referred to as political based relief or I-589 relief (referring to the form on which all three forms of relief are requested).

Asylum and withholding of removal differ only in regards to the burden of proof required. Both of these forms of relief require proof that the alien has been or will be persecuted on account being a member of a protected class. Deferral under the Convention Against Torture differs in that it requires proof that the alien will be tortured in his country of citizenship by the government or with government acquiescence but does not require that the torture would be meted out for any particular reason.

Asylum can be barred to an alien in Removal proceedings due to criminal convictions or because the application was not filed within one year of the alien's arrival in the United States. Withholding can be barred to an alien who has been convicted of a "particularly serious crime". There are no crimes that bar an alien from seeking relief under the Convention Against Torture.

A grant of asylum creates a path to residency and citizenship. A grant of withholding or deferral under the Convention Against Torture does not. In fact, those two forms of relief do not even prevent the entry of an order of removal, they simply prevent the execution of the order of removal.