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Clear-Cut Asylum Applicant Valeska Aleman Denied Hearing Under Title 42 Exclusion

August 28, 2020 (1 min read)

Kevin Sieff, Washington Post, Aug. 28, 2020

"She was one of the most recognizable activists in Nicaragua, protesting a government that has jailed and killed its opponents. Her photo ran in national newspapers; one called her the “face of the rebellion.” Her video of police firing at student protesters went viral. Her confrontations with the government were cited by the U.S. State Department.

Valeska Alemán, 22, paid a price for that notoriety. She was detained twice. Interrogators pried off her toenails. When she decided to leave the country, the United States seemed a natural destination: The Trump administration has been vocal in its opposition to Nicaragua’s crackdown — and its support of the country’s young protesters.

But by the time Alemán arrived at the U.S. border in July, the administration had launched a pandemic-era policy that sends Nicaraguans directly back to their country without letting them apply for asylum. Seventeen days after crossing into Texas, she was put on a plane back to Managua with more than 100 other Nicaraguans, almost all of them opponents of President Daniel Ortega.

... The administration is using a public health order known as 42 U.S.C. [Sections 362 and 365] that cites “the danger to the public health” of migrants to justify the asylum system’s closure."