Login

Register | Forgot Your Password? | Close
Register | Forgot Your Password? | Close
Maria Peniche, 22, poses for a portrait inside the Eloy Detention Center in Eloy, Arizona, Monday, Aug. 5, 2013. The Homeland Security Department took the highly unusual step of tentatively approved asylum requests for nine Mexican immigrants, including Peniche, who left the U.S. and attempted to re-enter as part of a protest against U.S. deportation policies. An immigration judge will have the final say whether they can remain permanently in the United States, but such a ruling could take years. (AP Photo/Nick Oza)

WASHINGTON (AP) - 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.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
share this story:
Attention KTAR.com Comment Users: We have recently changed our comments boards.
We would like you to be part of the conversation and The Voice of Arizona by logging in with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing KTAR (Arizona Sports) account members will need to create a Disqus account or use one of the aforementioned social media logins. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus

World Class Arizona

  • Dignity Health

    World Class People. World Class Company. Excellent care, delivered with compassion, for all in need.
  • CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company

    SCF Arizona has a new name. They are now CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company.
  • Taylor Morrison

    World Class People. World Class Company. We are a national home builder committed to building homes inspired by you.
  • Go Daddy

    World Class People. World Class Company. Go Daddy is a Fortune 100 "Best Companies to Work For."
  • Avnet

    World Class People. World Class Company. Here's information on a Fortune 500 company from Arizona.

Voice For A Better Arizona

  • Working For Arizona

    The business and economics of Arizona at the start of 2014 and looking forward.
  • Arizonans In Need

    Putting a focus on charities and organizations who provide help and/or need your help to fulfill their missions.
close

Share: