Individuals being persecuted in their home countries may apply for asylum, refugee status or temporary protected status in the United States. The fact that the person is suffering economical hardship is not considered a well-funded reason for applying for asylum or refugee status in the United States.
There is a difference between Asylum and Refugee Status:
Asylum : Individuals already physically present in the U.S. may apply for asylum, provided they meet the definition of a refugee and are not barred by law from applying for or being granted asylum.
Refugee : A refugee is a person unable or unwilling to return to his or her native country due to a well-founded fear of persecution or because the person's life or freedom would be threatened. To apply for refugee status, the applicant must be physically located outside the United States.