Asylum is a protection available to people who would be hurt or threatened with being harmed in their own country and who ask the United States to protect them by allowing them to stay in this country. Asylum is an excellent benefit though has specific qualifications in order to succeed as a defense. A person who wins asylum wins protected status, an opportunity to apply for residency, and a future path to citizenship.
If Asylum is not possible, a person can apply for Withholding of Removal. This status does not have all of the benefits of Asylum but still provides a person with protection from deportation and a work permit to live and work freely within the United States. The standards for Withholding are different than Asylum. Both require careful attention of an immigration attorney in order to have the best chance for success.