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The Asylum Saga of Mexican Journalist Emilio Gutiérrez Soto

March 12, 2019 (1 min read)

Andrew Lapin, Michigan Alumnus Magazine, Spring 2019

"For nearly a year, U-M’s Knight-Wallace Fellowship has provided a home and a lifeline for journalist Emilio Gutiérrez Soto. He is thousands of miles and several years removed from the threats by the Mexican military that caused him to seek asylum in the United States.

But the security that blanketed Gutierrez was lifted on March 4. After more than 10 years of legal limbo and occasional detainment, Gutiérrez learned that a judge had denied his asylum claim.

If he is deported, it will be to a country that wants him dead.

The news was “devastating,” said Lynette Clemetson, director of the fellowship program and a key advocate for Gutiérrez in court. She recounted the latest setback in Gutiérrez’s case. “Now we are all regrouping and trying to figure out how we continue to fight this.”

The verdict was the second time U.S. Immigration Judge Robert Hough has ruled against the 55-year-old Gutiérrez and his 25-year-old son, Oscar. On March 7, as he did the first time, Gutiérrez’s attorney, Eduardo Beckett, filed an appeal to the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).

... Beckett and the NPC also have filed Freedom of Information Act requests; they say released internal communications show that Homeland Security targeted Gutiérrez for deportation, knowing he was a journalist despite making him and the University translators prove this for the court. Beckett believes they also show that the judge is not acting impartially. He hopes to use the documents to request Hough’s recusal or move the trial to Michigan."