The United States isn’t the only country denying asylum to Mexican police officers, despite widely reported drug violence south of the border and allegations that the Mexican government cannot protect its own.
The Toronto Globe and Mail last week highlighted what it called a “model” Juarez police officer who unsuccessfully sought protection in his own country before fleeing to Canada.
According to the paper, Gustavo Gutierrez Masareno fled Juarez after he confronted the army on civil-rights abuses and began receiving death threats. The Chihuahua Attorney-General’s office advised him to go into hiding because it couldn’t protect him, he said. The paper also reported that other former Mexican police officers have had their asylum claims rejected by the Canadian government.
The New York Times followed a few days later with a long, front-page story on the risks investigators – police and journalists among them – have doing their jobs.
In collaboration with the Los Angeles Times, CIR reported in June on the difficulties that Mexican police officers have winning asylum in U.S. immigration courts.
The immigration cases of those officers profiled in the article remain in limbo. One is awaiting his court date later this year, another had his asylum application rejected and awaits a judge to decide his fate and the last one expects to file his asylum application shortly.
But not all investigators are seeking asylum. As reported earlier this week, a Mexican human rights activist who has temporarily fled his country is fighting to get released from immigration detention because although he is afraid for his life in Mexico, he doesn’t want asylum in the United States.
Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson, 63, directed the Juarez office of the Chihuahua State Human Rights Commission, across the border from El Paso. He had documented 170 incidents of abuse by the Mexican military, and because of this had his life threatened.
He had been moving back and forth across the border when he was arrested last week by Customs and Border Protection as he tried to enter the country on a visa. De la Rosa was later transferred to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in El Paso. Both agencies are part of the Department of Homeland Security.
His attorney, Carlos Spector, said that as of today de la Rosa was no longer in ICE custody, but he hadn’t been released with his visa.