Mexican Asylum Project

Mexican asylum seekers: A new class of clients

In 2008, drug-related violence began to tear apart Ciudad Juárez, El Paso’s sister city south of the border. In the next two and a half years, close to 7,000 people met a violent death in Juárez at the hands of warring drug cartels, making the sprawling metropolis one of the most deadly in the world. Las Americas staff started to see an influx in Mexican asylum seekers who sought relief in the United States. Many Mexican refugees have received threats from cartels or criminal organizations with ties to corrupt Mexican government officials. For Las Americas, they represent a new class of clients from Mexico that include women, children, students, journalists and activists.

Thanks to a $27,500 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation, Las Americas is able this year to offer legal representation to indigent Mexican asylum seekers. Las Americas staff completes an average of 15 intakes a week of people fleeing the violence in Mexico. But these cases among the most complicated immigration processes. Only 2% out of an average of 3,000 applicants from Mexico are granted asylum on a yearly basis. Even under these inauspicious circumstances, Las Americas is committed to the pursuit of justice and the protection of due process for Mexican nationals who have legitimate asylum claims.

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