California readers may have seen headlines in recent months about different demonstrations that have been staged by undocumented immigrants who are seeking asylum in the United States. One man, who had his legs amputated by an international drug cartel, participated in a different type of demonstration recently. Now fitted with prosthetic legs, he just completed an 800-mile bike ride through another border state to call attention to the plight of Mexican immigrants seeking asylum.
When he lived in Mexico, the 35-year-old man operated a catering business. He was injured by the drug cartel when he refused to pay them extortion fees. Four men cut off his legs after forcing him into his car, leaving him in critical condition. Once he was recovered enough to leave, he sought asylum in the U.S. His case began in 2011.
While our country may grant asylum to those who face a credible threat of persecution in their home countries, Mexican immigrants have had an especially hard time getting permission to stay. While about one-quarter of other Latin American immigrants were given asylum in 2012, no more than 2 percent of Mexican immigrants were approved. In recent years, asylum applications from Mexican immigrants have increased substantially, leading some lawmakers to believe that many are trying to game the system.
During the bicycling demonstration, the man took an opportunity during rest breaks to talk to locals and raise awareness. He is still waiting for his case to be heard, as are thousands of other Mexicans here in California and elsewhere who are currently seeking asylum in our country. Anyone undergoing this process may find it beneficial to talk to someone with knowledge of our immigration laws. Knowing what to expect at each phase of the process may help bring some peace of mind during an otherwise uncertain time.
Source: trivalleycentral.com, Immigration: Legless cyclist riding for asylum seekers, No author, Nov. 11, 2013