Members of same family seek asylum in US but face different consequences
Washington, Dec 27: They all belong to the same family seeking asylum in the United States after facing threat in home country El Salvador but to their utter distress, the members faced different outcomes from their plea even if they came as one family.
According to a report by Washington-based Pulitzer Center, 10 members of the Chavez family from El Salvador fled their country after a gang murdered their head - 55-year-old Jorge (name changed). But on arrival in the US where they sought asylum, they faced different consequences. While two members' requests were rejected with one among them getting deported and another released on bail, the others were detained and were waiting for law to take up their case.
The family's ordeal started in September at the funeral of their grandfather. It was there where an unknown man approached Jorge and took him to a location few metres away where they shot him several times and the family saw it with terror. The news of the murder was carried by several local media outlets but none of the witnesses came forward to testify for they believe little in the police in the Central American state.
"In El Salvador people don't talk to police. They don't trust them, they think gangs and policemen are the same people. They also don't talk to the press either out of fear of retaliation. They live under the motto, "no one saw anything, no one heard anything," read the Pulitzer report.
The family then saw its members' houses looted by the criminals and were warned by their neighbours not to come back since their own lives were also in danger. Jorge's wife, children and grandchildren then packed their belongings and some documents to flee El Salvador with help of some friends.
They then undertook a long journey to reach Eagle Pass, Texas, US, seeking an entry into the country. It was October. From here, their destinies diverged. While they were transferred to the ICE residential centre in Dilly in South Texas, they were left alone to take on a ruthless immigration system under the Donald Trump era. In recent times, Trump has put more pressure on the system to respond to a rise in Central American migration since the number of migrants leaving Central America is more than those leaving the southern neighbour of Mexico.
It was reported that Maria and her children managed to convince the asylum officer who interviewed her that her fear of leaving the country was credible. She is now in search of an immigration lawyer to represent her in the asylum request and stop her deportation for she believed that if she is turned back, she will only see herself and her family losing their lives in El Salvador.
The family's issue has become more complex since there is no regulation to deal with such cases, the report said.
The Pulitzer report sited Washington-based immigration lawyer José Pertierra, who believes the Trump government is eyeing to "completely dismantle the asylum system (...) and is doing everything possible to prevent people from qualifying for asylum," referring to an executive order that bars those escaping gang violence or domestic abuse to seek asylum.