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Mexican political asylum requests doubled in past year

A San Diego news article highlights the soaring numbers of Mexican citizens claiming political asylum over the past year, likely due to escalating drug violence in the country. In 2010, approximately 3,200 Mexicans requested political asylum, with only 49 Mexican citizens being approved. That number has almost doubled since then, with more than 6,100 people requesting it in 2011. Nevertheless, only 104 people who requested asylum over the past year were granted it.

Although drug violence in Mexico continue to increase, immigration judges are guarded against lowering the asylum standards for Mexico in the belief that illegal immigrants in this country facing deportation may use it as a reason to continue to stay in this country. Out of the cases approved for Mexican citizens, the majority of them showed that they were at specific risk for violence ordered against them. One case approved for asylum was a Mexican activist. His request was granted after several of his family members were killed by criminal groups.

While the number of political asylum cases rise, the numbers approved by the United States remain very low. Between 1 and 2 percent of requests by Mexican citizens are approved. Interestingly, requests from Colombian citizens were granted at a rate of nearly 40 percent.

Asylum cases tend to have very definitive rules attached to them, so it can be difficult to prevail. It is important for immigrants who are seeking asylum to become familiar with relevant laws and procedures. Immigrants living in San Diego or elsewhere in the country who are afraid to return to their home country for reasons of maltreatment because of a religious or political affiliation, or even race or nationality, may have a stronger chance of filing a successful asylum request.

Source: KPBS.org, "Asylum Cases From Mexico Doubled Last Year," Adrian Florido, March 1, 2012

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