Our stories this month focus on asylum processing delays at the border; the life-threatening dangers frequently faced by deported asylum seekers; and the outcome of the most recent trial of a U.S. Border Patrol agent charged with killing a Mexican youth.
- Asylum Seekers at the Border: At the U.S.–Mexico border, the Trump administration is limiting the number of people who can present themselves for asylum at ports of entry each day, a process called “metering.” This approach, used in the past, is now creating delays lasting weeks or even months, and a chaotic backlog of individuals and families find themselves homeless and hungry as they wait to exercise their right to asylum. KBI Director of Education and Advocacy Joanna Williams offers commentary in this overview: https://www.vox.com/2018/11/28/18089048/border-asylum-trump-metering-legally-ports.
- Death After Deportation: The asylum process is an arduous one, often hampered by obstacles, and requiring extensive documentation of persecution, which is often difficult to collect. Many applicants who manage to get their day in court aren’t granted asylum due to any number of factors, including insufficient or unsubstantiated evidence, though their lives would be at risk if they returned to their home countries. This story reports on the murder of Santos Chirino, a longtime resident of the U.S., who was killed by gang members after being denied asylum and deported back to Honduras: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/local/asylum-deported-ms-13-honduras/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.18cba6bfc383.
- Acquitted Border Patrol Agent: After 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodríguez was killed in October 2012 by a Border Patrol agent—who fired 16 rounds through the border fence, ten embedded in José Antonio’s back and head—it took two and a half years to indict Lonnie Schwartz on second-degree murder, and two more years to go to trial, where he was acquitted in April. He was retried on manslaughter charges, and in November, acquitted again. Though Schwartz claims to have feared for his life as rocks were thrown from the Mexican side of the fence, another agent contests this account, but was not permitted to testify at either trial. Now, after being denied justice in the criminal courts, the Rodríguez family awaits a Supreme Court hearing on their standing to file a civil case for damages: https://www.npr.org/2018/11/25/670668243/a-not-guilty-verdict-absolves-border-patrol-of-cross-border-killing?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20181126&utm_campaign=npr_email_a_friend&utm_term=storyshare.