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Juárez Man Granted Asylum; Family Killed by Cartels

July 10, 2013 (1 min read)

"A U.S. immigration court in a rare action granted asylum to a citizen of Mexico who fled Juárez after 11 of his relatives were killed by suspected drug cartel-sponsored extortionists, El Paso lawyer Carlos Spector said Monday.  The court found that asylum petitioner Christian Chaidez, 30, lost 11 relatives ranging in age from 24 to 66, and could not count on Mexican law enforcement to protect him, Spector said.  The relatives were killed between June 25, 2009, and July 31, 2012, a period of unprecedented violence in Juárez that Mexican authorities attributed to drug cartel rivalries and a culture of corruption in law enforcement.  "The granting of asylum to victims of extortion is rare and unusual as it is generally considered criminal activity not covered by the traditional definition of "refugee," Spector said. "Generally, a refugee is an applicant who must show that his life or freedom would be threatened in the country because of his race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion."  "The immigration court also concluded that the Mexican government was unable or unwilling to protect Mr. Chaidez from further persecution and that internal relocation within Mexico was unreasonable due to the corruption and infiltration of Mexican immigration officials who could identify him upon removal from the United States, and subsequently release him to cartel members," Spector said." - Diana Washington Valdez, El Paso Times, July 9, 2013.