Exiles Speak Out Against Claims They're Gaming System

Exiles Speak Out Against Claims They're Gaming System

"Carlos Gutierrez, a native of Chihuahua, Mexico, never envisioned coming to the U.S. to seek a better life, the way millions of his countrymen have done for decades. The successful businessman was doing quite well for himself until just a few years ago.

That was when criminals chopped off his legs for failure to pay their monthly $10,000 extortion demands, forcing the 35-year-old to flee and seek asylum in the United States in 2011. His case was administratively closed — put on hold because immigration officers deemed his removal a low priority — and he was granted a work permit.

But despite having safe harbor in the U.S. for the time being, Gutierrez isn't keeping a low profile. He's waging a public battle to fight what he perceives to be an anti-immigrant bias against legitimate asylum claims. He wants to show Americans that Mexicans seeking exile across the border aren’t gaming the system, and he’s raising awareness via a hobby that is far more challenging for him than for others.

Gutierrez leaves El Paso later this month on a bike trek called "Pedaling for Justice." Gutierrez, who has prosthetic legs, will cover more than 670 miles of Texas roadways by bicycle en route to his final destination, the Texas Capitol." - Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune, Oct. 10, 2013.