9 Mexicans win first step in asylum claim

WASHINGTON — The Homeland Security Department tentatively approved asylum requests for nine 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.

Christopher Bentley, a spokesman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said DHS ruled that the immigrants have a “credible fear” of being persecuted if they are sent back to Mexico.

“The legal threshold for credible fear is broad and low, in order to ensure that individuals who may face a `significant possibility’ of persecution if removed have the opportunity to have their case heard before an immigration judge,” Bentley said.

It is rare for the U.S. government to grant asylum to Mexican citizens.

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.

An immigration judge will have the final say whether they can remain permanently in the United States. According to the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the Justice Department agency that runs immigration courts, new cases for immigrants not being held in detention are being scheduled in Arizona for 2014.

Meanwhile, the nine immigrants are likely to be released from detention in Arizona and could be eligible for a work permit in the future.

The nine immigrants spent part of their lives in the U.S. Some returned voluntarily to Mexico years ago, while others had been deported. Three of them were raised in the U.S. and left the country for Mexico expressly to participate in the protest when they attempted to cross the border recently in Nogales.

The immigrants were pushing for legislation being considered in Congress to offer eventual citizenship to some immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children.

House Republicans recently took a tentative step toward offering citizenship to some immigrants who fit into this category, but Democrats said it wasn’t enough.

The dismissive reaction to the Republican proposal underscored the difficulties of finding an immigration reform compromise in the Republican-led House.

More in Local News

Agencies launch coordinated response to an opioid ‘emergency’

Health workers, law enforcement agencies and emergency managers are responding as they might to a disaster.

King County sheriff could face felony charge in groping case

A former deputy claims John Urquhart groped him. Renton police forwarded the case to the prosecutor.

Snohomish County Council passes a no-new-taxes budget

The spending plan still funds the hiring of five new sheriff’s deputies and a code enforcement officer.

Alleged philanderer attacked with hammer near Everett

His girlfriend had accused him of cheating and allegedly called on another man to confront him.

Pair charged with first-degree robbery in marijuana theft

A man was shot in the head during a holdup that was supposed to net about an ounce of pot.

Puffy-coated robbery suspect arrested on Whidbey

The suspect apparently wore the same outfit in 2 robberies at the same place in less than 2 weeks.

Planning — and patience — can ease Thanksgiving travel

The Washington State Department of Transportation offers information to help guide planning.

Hiker rescued on Boulder River trail after 15-foot fall

She was reported to have possible leg and rib fractures.

Front Porch

JUST FOR YOUTH Fun with leftovers The week after Thanksgiving is always… Continue reading

Most Read