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A Q&A with Carlos Spector, El Paso Immigration Attorney and Human Rights Defender

November 09, 2021 (1 min read)

Melissa del Bosque, The Border Chronicle, Nov. 9, 2021

"For more than 30 years, Carlos Spector has worked as a human rights defender and immigration attorney in El Paso, Texas, where he specializes in Mexican asylum cases. For years, Mexicans fleeing persecution and political violence have viewed Spector’s law office, which he runs with his wife, Sandra, also a longtime human rights activist, as a place of refuge and hope. In 2010 the couple cofounded a nonprofit, Mexicanos en Exilio, to help bring resources and attention to the plight of Mexican human rights defenders, journalists, and other activists seeking asylum. While U.S. media coverage of the violence in Mexico has largely disappeared from the headlines, the murder rate continues to climb in Mexico, which is considered as dangerous for journalists as Syria and Afghanistan. Extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances are also on the rise with human rights leaders increasingly being targeted. In Mexico, according to Human Rights Watch, only 1.3 percent of crimes committed are ever solved, because of official corruption and a lack of resources.  This makes Spector’s job not only crucial but also extremely difficult. Typically, only a small fraction—around 5 percent—of Mexican asylum seekers win their cases. During the four years of the Trump administration, the U.S. asylum system was essentially dismantled by Stephen Miller and other anti-immigrant hardliners. These were some of the toughest times of Spector’s career. These days, Spector said, he sees a few hopeful changes on the horizon, and he is gearing up to represent more human rights defenders from Mexico as the border reopens this month. ..."