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Mexican journalist fears dying if deported from U.S.

HOUSTON — Advocates for a Mexican journalist detained in a distant West Texas facility requested the U.S. authorities to grant him asylum as an alternative of deporting him to a rustic the place he believes he’ll be killed. Emilio Gutierrez Soto fled to the USA a decade in the past after articles he wrote alleging corruption within the Mexican navy triggered his identify to finish up on successful listing.

Mexico is among the world’s most harmful locations for journalism, likened to international locations reminiscent of Syria and Iraq. A minimum of 11 journalists have been killed in Mexico this 12 months.

After coming inside hours of attainable deportation, Gutierrez, 54, is now interesting. The Nationwide Press Membership and different press freedom advocates held an occasion Monday highlighting Gutierrez’s case and people of different reporters whose lives have been at risk.

Talking by telephone from a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention middle in Sierra Blanca, Texas, Gutierrez accused Mexican leaders of being complicit within the violence of drug cartels and the murders of journalists, although he didn’t make particular allegations.

“The most important legal group is the federal government,” Gutierrez stated. “I am afraid to take one step into Mexico.”

Emilio Gutierrez Soto is seen on this Oct. four, 2017, picture supplied by The Nationwide Press Membership.

Noel St. John/The Nationwide Press Membership by way of AP

For “CBSN: On Project,” CBS Information correspondent Manuel Bojorquez met with Luis Chaparro, 28, a contract journalist who labored intently with slain investigative reporter Miroslava Breach at El Norte, a newspaper based mostly in Ciudad Juarez.

“Each journalist in Mexico is a goal now,” Chaparro stated within the interview broadcast in August. “She was courageous. I felt that bullet was too shut for me.”

Oscar Cantu, the proprietor of El Norte, confirmed CBS Information Breach’s remaining report during which she wrote, “by both menace or simply being complicit, the heads of narcos in all of those areas (Chihuahua State) have infiltrated native governments.”

Cantu believed it was probably that precise report result in her dying.

The U.S. authorities traditionally rejects most asylum claims. Over a five-year interval ending in September 2016, the U.S. acquired about 267,000 asylum claims and granted 46,000.

It has granted asylum in recent times to a variety of Mexican journalists. However Eduardo Beckett, Gutierrez’s lawyer, accused the U.S. of turning a blind eye to corruption and violence in Mexico, and blamed the Trump administration for altering the way it offers with asylum seekers.

“There isn’t any extra humanity,” Beckett stated. “The brand new tactic is, we’ll stress you, we’ll maintain you detained, in hopes you may surrender.”

One other Mexican journalist did simply that earlier this 12 months. After spending practically 4 months in an immigration facility, reporter Martin Mendez Pineda returned to Mexico and went into hiding.

Mexico has created a federal safety program for journalists, with about 600 enrollees nationwide. However one reporter in this system was killed earlier this 12 months, and others query whether or not the federal authorities has the ability or the desire to guard them. In the meantime, high-profile killings have continued, together with the dying of Javier Valdez, a legendary reporter who coated drug trafficking in Sinaloa state.

Gutierrez labored for El Diario del Noroeste, a newspaper within the state of Chihuahua. He stated his issues started after he wrote articles that alleged navy forces have been robbing and extorting native individuals in Chihuahua, which borders New Mexico and a part of West Texas.

After receiving what his advocates referred to as veiled threats, Gutierrez found his identify had been positioned on successful listing. So he fled north together with his teenage son and entered the U.S. in 2008, searching for asylum.

He spent seven months in detention earlier than his launch in January 2009, whereas his utility for asylum remained pending.

Beckett stated that Gutierrez was now not working in journalism whereas dwelling within the West Texas border metropolis of El Paso. As an alternative, he supported himself by working a meals truck, Beckett stated. His son, now 24, works in a restaurant. However whereas in the USA, Gutierrez heard from individuals again in Mexico that if he returned, he would find yourself like different journalists who have been killed.

After 9 years, a decide denied his asylum request in July, and the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed his attraction in November.

His advocates say he got here near being despatched again to Mexico earlier than the appeals board on Thursday issued a keep of his deportation.

The U.S. Division of Justice and the Mexican international affairs ministry didn’t return messages searching for remark Monday. ICE stated in a press release that Gutierrez stays within the company’s custody “pending disposition of his immigration case.”

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