The Refugee Act of 1980 conforms U.S. immigration laws with various UN conventions and protocols. A person within the United States may be granted asylum if he or she can demonstrate a “well-founded fear of persecution” based on

(1) political opinion,

(2) religion,

(3) race,

(4) nationality, or

(5) membership in a particular social group

A person who is outside the U.S. may apply for refugee status based on this same criteria.