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Despair among migrants in Juarez after U.S. Supreme Court upholds Trump asylum policy

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Donald Trump’s policy of seeking asylum in the first country an immigrant sets foot on.

That ruling sent shock waves among immigration advocacy groups because of how it could affect the thousands of immigrants trying to gain asylum in the U.S.

Juarez officials are uncertain what the ruling means to immigrants waiting in that city to cross into the U.S. to apply for asylum.

Right now, immigrant advocacy groups say immigrants will be exposed to the same unsafe conditions they fled their country from if they are forced to seek asylum in Mexico.

“When I heard about that news, I was already on the list. That news came down when I was already here,” said Alejandro Egaces, a Cuban national.

That list is where immigrants sign up for to wait for their number to be called before they can proceed to the U.S. to request asylum.

Alejandro has been waiting in Juarez for five months. He learned about the Supreme Court ruling upholding Trump’s policy forcing immigrants to seek asylum in the first country they set foot on.

“Sincerely, my dream of entering the country of my dreams, United States, is now beyond my reach.” Alejandro added.

Alejandro says he will not seek asylum in Juarez, because he doesn’t feel safe.

Some Immigrant advocacy groups agree with Alejandro.

“We have seen so many of our clients be kidnaped, be raped.” said Linda Rivas, executive director for the Las Americas immigrant advocacy group.

Chihuahua state officials are waiting to see how the ruling will affect the immigrant population in Juarez.

“So we’re still waiting to see how this will affect them. Many people are already very impatient, and very desperate,” said Enrique Valenzuela, director of the Chihuaha state population agency.

And Valenzuela says many on the list are leaving Juarez in frustration.

He predicts that many of the 6,200 immigrants who were waiting have left, either to their home country or other parts of the border.

He knows this based on the numbers that are called out. “Because many don’t show up.” added Valenzuela.

Meanwhile, Alejandro’s life is in limbo.

I asked him if he’ll return to Cuba. He responded while keeping his glance on the Paso Del Norte Bridge, once his path to freedom.

“I cannot return to Cuba,” he said.

Rivas with the Las Americas Immigrant advocacy center says the Supreme Court’s ruling only upholds injunctions from lower courts, and is not the law of the land just yet.

She believes lower courts will rule on the merits of the case involving the first country asylum ruling, but thinks it could ultimatly go back to the Supreme Court for a final ruling.

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KVIA 2019

Article Topic Follows: El Paso

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