The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) made an unusual move by granting temporary asylum to several Mexican immigrants, including a handful of those who are illegally in the United States, after they crossed the border in a pro-amnesty protest in late July.
“The Homeland Security Department tentatively approved asylum requests for seven Mexican immigrants, including some who were living in the United States illegally but left and attempted to re-enter as part of a protest against U.S. deportation policies,” the Associated Press’ Alicia Caldwell reported on Tuesday. “The preliminary approval is highly unusual because it is rare for the U.S. government to grant asylum to Mexican citizens.”
Caldwell noted that the “immigrants were trying to call attention to hundreds of thousands who have been deported during President Barack Obama’s administration. They had cited a credible fear of persecution should they return to Mexico.”
They were, according to a late July piece from the Huffington Post, part of a protest the pro-amnesty National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA) organized. “In an audacious move even from a group known for pushing boundaries, the National Immigrant Youth Alliance organized the crossing at the Arizona border town of Nogales as a protest against President Barack Obama’s record-setting pace of deportations,” the Huffington Post’s Roque Planas wrote on July 23.
NIYA organizer Lizbeth Mateo wrote in her own Huffington Post piece that she helped organize the effort because she dislikes America’s current immigration laws. “On Monday, I walked into a port of entry in Nogales, Mexico with seven other Dreamers and asked the Obama administration to use its discretion to allow us to return to the United States,” Mateo wrote on July 22. “As you read this, I may be in a detention center. Five of us were forced to leave because we were deported, or because current law encouraged us to self-deport. Three of us left recently help them fight for the right to come home.”
According to the Associated Press in late July, the activists’ lawyer Margo Cowan said the immigrants had requested humanitarian parole after being detained during their protest and would seek asylum if that were denied.
In a Facebook posting at the time of the incident, pro-amnesty Rep. LuisGutierrez (D-IL) called for the Obama administration to bend the rulesto let the liberal activists back into the country. “I have heard aboutthe DREAMers who attempted to return home to the United States todayafter deportation, including my constituent Lulu Martinez from Chicago,”Gutierrez wrote in that post. “I hope the Obama administration will do the rightthing and let them back in.”
“An immigration judge will have the final say whether they can remain permanently in the United States, but such a ruling could take years,” Caldwell wrote. “Meanwhile, the seven immigrants are likely to be released from detention in Arizona and could be eligible for a work permit in the future.”