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This Week’s Immigration Asylum News and Information

Andres Mejer: Good morning to the English version of our radio program Para Ser Legal to be legal. So we start off the segment each time with important news that has happened in the last week. Today we’re going to talk about a Mexican woman that was initially refused entry in the United States to apply for asylum until a senator got involved and was then given the opportunity to actually request asylum. Second, we’re going to talk about Trump’s agreement with Guatemala for a third country agreement. And we’re going to talk about Hymie Gomez Garcia a 13 year old that killed herself when her father was denied entry into the United States for the fourth time. Then we’re going to talk about the credible fear interview. So what is a credible fear interview? How to prepare for one. Why is it important? How does it function in the context of an asylum proceeding? Which is the subject that we’re really talking about today, where it’s really all about asylum. And lastly, we’re going to talk about a case of Arnav and Kiara, Indian citizens that presented themselves at the border Mexico applying for asylum. And what happened to them.

Andres Mejer: So Mexican woman 38 weeks pregnant. Meets Senator Ron Wyden, who goes to visit the border, and he learns that she has a complicated pregnancy with pre-eclampsia, pre-eclampsia is where in essence the body’s, the woman’s blood pressure goes high. Fighting off the pregnancy and it could result in death to the mom and it could result in death to the child. Why do I know anything about it? Because my wife had it twice with both our children and it’s the reason why we couldn’t have any more children because of a threat of physical life threat to both mom and baby. And each time got worse for us. So we’re blessed. We have two children. One is 13 and one is 10. Noemi and Marcello. Now. So this woman had pre-eclampsia 38 weeks pregnant has a three-year-old son and her husband. She’s not feeling well. She goes presents herself at the border. Now a customs border Border Patrol agent, not seeing the senator who’s stepped, who’s behind them. I don’t know how you can miss a senator and the camera crews? But apparently, he did, maybe not that bright? But he tells the women we’re full you can’t come here. She says I’m a Mexican citizen and I’m afraid to go to my country and I have a complicated pregnancy I really need medical attention. That’s when the senator comes up says hold on a second. You just tell this woman she and she can’t come in. Yes, we told her that that that we’re full. Did she tell you she’s a Mexican citizen? Yes. So there’s a concept called metering that Trump has introduced which only allows a certain number of people applying for asylum in any given day. That does not apply to Mexican citizens. Let me repeat that. Metering does not apply to Mexican citizens. Why. Well, think about it. If I’m a Mexican citizen and I’m coming to the U.S. to claim asylum and I’m being told no you have to wait to file for asylum. That means you’re putting me back in the location environment country and that I’m afraid to go back to, the law., you can’t do that. The law doesn’t allow that to happen. So Mexican citizens are exempt from this. If I’m from Guatemala if I’m from Canada if I’m from any other country. That is not the case. Well actually if I’m Canadian and I’m at the northern border. I. Can’t do that either. But if I’m Canadian and applying through Mexico that’s a different story.

Andres Mejer: So she was allowed with the Senator’s involvement. That’s Senator Ron Wyden a Democrat from Oregon. What you know, allow them to help them enter the U.S. Now, let’s talk about a sadder scenario, Heidi. Gamez Garcia, a 13-year-old. The same age as my daughter, killed herself last week. She was granted asylum in 2015. She received her Green Card in 2016 and she had been battling for depression ever since she was separated from her father. Her father was in the U.S. in 2014 and. had to go back to Honduras when his father was assassinated. Shot right in the car. Not even a year later, his mother died of diabetes, so he went back to Honduras and brought Heidi to the US. Now it is unclear to me how Heidi was granted asylum but Father was not. But the father was deported. He tried again. He was convicted of illegal reentry, given a 45-day jail sentence and then deported. He tried a third time and then he tried a, and he promised his daughter he would try again, after the last attempt, she took her life. She hung herself and her aunt found her in the closet immediately called an ambulance. She was determined brain dead left on life support and her father was finally allowed to come in the United States, given two weeks permission to come in and bury his daughter. Incredibly sad.

Andres Mejer: I can only imagine. Now I didn’t see any indication that father had an attorney until now. You know after Heidi died. Now. I don’t understand why he didn’t have an attorney earlier. I don’t understand how his asylum was denied initially, because once you ordered deported you don’t qualify for asylum. You only qualify for withholding of removal. It’s essentially the same requirements but the level of proof is much much higher. There may be something in father’s background that prevented him from qualifying for asylum. Totally unclear. What is clear is he didn’t have an attorney then, Heidi did. Heidi won, dad did not. Not right in any way shape or form and we may never know more information than that but it’s a very sad situation. It touched me because it’s, she’s the same age as my daughter and I can’t imagine being separated from my daughter for four years. As much she drives me crazy sometimes most of the times. But four years? I don’t know how people do it.

Andres Mejer: Now third news item of this week Trump signed what they call a Third Country Agreement with Guatemala. What is that? Well, there’s a law under the Immigration Naturalization Act that applies to the U.S. Mexico border. It essentially says that “Any alien who enters or attempts to enter the United States across the southern border after failing to apply for protection in a third country outside the aliens country of citizenship nationality or last lawful habitual residence through which the alien transit in round United States is ineligible for asylum.” Basically, it means is, if you crossed through a safe country on your way to the United States and you didn’t apply for asylum in that country you’re not eligible to apply for asylum in the US. So what the Trump. Well, the U.S. has such an agreement with Canada it’s not really all that relevant. But let’s say somebody goes from India or Pakistan into Canada lives there for a couple of years never claims asylum then comes to the US and applies for asylum. They’ll say no you’re not eligible to apply for asylum in the U.S. you lived in Canada you must first apply there. So they’re trying to apply that to Guatemala. I mean Guatemala. Give me a break, really? Because that’s a safe country? So they’re trying to say just by having an agreement alone is sufficient. And so in Guatemala is allowing people to file for asylum in their country. Now Trump administration tried to do that with Mexico and Mexico has said no so far they have not agreed to take in all of these immigrants. And in the process them all for asylum, you know Trump is saying that America is too full. But Mexico is not. It’s a little absurd. We can handle many more immigrants than Mexico can. At this point but Guatemala is a failed state. There are thousands of immigrants coming from Guatemala every single month. Afraid to go back to their country and now they’re going to be told they should file for us. Well obviously someone who’s got them and got someone who’s from Guatemala will be able to apply for asylum. You can’t tell the government that you’re afraid of, that you’re afraid of the government. That’s not going to work. So. But any other immigrant that crosses through there is going to have that problem. So long story short, fly to Mexico first. That’s a solution you avoid Guatemala altogether. Go from your country to Mexico and then Mexico, present yourself at the border. That would avoid that problem. I don’t know how realistic that is going to be but that is an opportunity to avoid this scenario. Now when you go to the border and you ask for asylum that’s when you’re going to have a “credible fear” interview and that’s what we’re going to talk about next. So I’m Andrés Mejer. Thank you for listening in to the English segment of our radio show Para Ser Legal.