Many Mexicans need asylum to escape government persecution
Jorge Luis Reyes Salazar remembers when soldiers arrived in March 2008 in Guadalupe, a small Mexican farming community along the border in the Juárez Valley about 50 miles from Juárez.
They swept through the streets of his hometown, he said, terrorizing families and ransacking homes in what they said were searches for drugs, guns and money.
“A war began, but not against narco trafficking — against civil society,” Reyes, 19, told an audience of about 70 people Wednesday at a forum held by the Texas Observer. “The people — people like my family — began to protest.”
The young man was among four survivors of the drug war ravaging Mexico who were in Austin this week to share their stories and call attention to the struggle of thousands of families who have been forced to flee their country in a mass exodus. They have not come to the United States in search of the American dream, they said. They have been forced to abandon everything to save their lives.
To win an asylum case, a person must show a fear of persecution resulting from membership in a certain social, religious or political group, among other enumerated grounds…
Justice in Exile
Mexico’s drug war is often presented in the Mexican and U.S. media as a battle among government forces and the drug cartels. Seldom do we hear about the deep and systemic corruption of Mexican officials that allows the violence to flourish. Four members of a recently formed nonprofit in El Paso called Mexicans in Exile said Wednesday night they were forced to flee their country because of government corruption.
The panelists—Saul and Jorge Reyes Salazar, Juan Fraire Escobedo and Cipriana Jurado—told their harrowing stories at The Texas Observer’s forum “Government Persecution, Human Rights and Mexico’s Drug War” on Wednesday night at the Texas Hillel Center in Austin. Their El Paso attorney Carlos Spector spoke about winning political asylum for the exiles and the nonprofit group’s goal to build civil society in Mexico and to seek justice for victims of the violence.
More than 100 people attended the event, including several human rights attorneys, immigration attorneys, members of the Mexican Diaspora and community activists…