What is Asylum?

Legal Definition
1. Refuge granted by a foreign country to individuals, especially those who face persecution elsewhere because of their social status, associations, or political beliefs. Refuge typically consists of protection from arrest and extradition. See Immigration for more information.

2. An institution that cares for the destitute or sick, especially the mentally ill.
Legal Definition
A place, of refuge where debtors and criminals fled for safety.

2. At one time, in Europe, churches and other consecrated places served as asylums, to the disgrace of the law. These never protected criminals in the United States. It may be questioned whether the house of an ambassador (q. v.) would not afford protection temporarily, to a person who should take refuge there.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
1. A sanctuary or place of refuge and protection, where criminals and debtors found shelter, and from which they could not be taken without sacrilege. State v. Bacon, 6 Neb. 291; Cromie v. Institution of Mercy, 3 Bush (Ky.) 39

2. Shelter; refuge; protection from the hand of justice. The word includes not only place, but also shelter, security, protection; and a fugitive from justice, who has committed a crime in a foreign country, "seeks an asylum" at all times when he claims the use of the territories of the United States. In re De Giacomo, 12 Blatchf. 395, Fed. Cas. No. 3,747.

3. An institution for the protection and relief) of unfortunates, as asylums for the poor, for the deaf and dumb, or for the insane. Lawrence v. Leidigh, 58 Kan. 594, 50 Pac. 600, 62 Am. St Rep. 631.
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
Held to include a soldiers’ home supported by the state. See 23 L. R. A. 215.
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary