In a rare move, the Department of Homeland Security has tentatively approved asylum requests from the nine immigrants that crossed the border into Mexico and came back to the United States.
This marks a small victory for the so-called Dream 9, who were protesting U.S. deportation policies when they were detained after crossing the border into the United States.
The ordeal began when three dreamers crossed the border into Mexico and then crossed back into the United States accompanied by other immigrants, some of which had been deported and others who had left voluntarily.
Margo Cowan, the attorney representing the Dream 9, had told the Associated Press last month that she put in a request for humanitarian parole, which she said would allow the immigrants entrance to the U.S. because “their presence in America will serve an important public interest.” Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that DHS determined the Dream 9 have a “credible fear” of persecution if they are sent back to Mexico.
“The legal threshold for credible fear is broad and low, in order to ensure that individuals who may face a ‘significant possibility’ of persecution if removed have the opportunity to have their case heard before an immigration judge,” said Christopher Bentley, spokesman for USCIS.
The AP reported that “according to the Executive Office of Immigration Review, the Justice Department agency that runs immigration courts, new cases for immigrants not being held in detention are being scheduled for 2014.” The Dream 9 will most likely be released from detention and could be eligible for a work permit in the future.
Dream 9 crossed to make a point
In a blog piece published by The Huffington Post, Dream 9 member Lisbeth Mateo explained why she made the trip to Mexico:
“If immigration reform passes, we cannot leave out the millions of people whose families have been separated by deportation. They deserve to be home, and if we win, they may come home soon. They deserve not to be forgotten. They deserve a pathway home, and Congress should create it right away.”