California residents may have mixed feelings concerning a recent set of asylum applications. What makes these applications somewhat unique is that they were filed in bulk, and they concern some 60 immigrants who are all deaf. Most of those seeking asylum currently reside in the Inland area of California, near the California School for the Deaf. They allege various types of persecution in their homelands.
One reason these cases are so unique is nobody, at least as far as is known, has ever been given asylum for persecution that is solely based on being deaf. Another reason it is unique is that their attorney has filed dozens of cases all at once. She believes that doing it this way will cause the U.S. government to recognize the persecutions that some deaf people have to deal with abroad.
In a statement, she said that the people have all come to the United States to escape persecution and torture, and that although many are from different countries, they have shared experiences. Many of those seeking protection have told stories of sexual and physical abuse in their home country, all related to their deafness.
Most of the applicants hail from Mexico, but others are from Guatemala, El Salvador, Lebanon, the Philippines and Colombia. One man said he would take the risk because he did not want to go back to Mexico, which he said is not a good place for a deaf person to live.
Immigration and asylum laws in the United States are complicated. Each individual case is evaluated on its own merit. For this reason, those needing help with their immigration status or who wish to file for asylum should consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
Source: The Press-Enterprise, “Deaf immigrants apply for asylum,” David Olson, Sept. 27, 2011