Long lines are now common at the US-Mexico border where immigrants queue up at official border posts to enter the US legally, and usually claim asylum. If they do it legally, they have a much better chance of being granted asylum.
Those who cross illegally and request asylum are less than half as likely to get it, according to 2016 government statistics. Sergio who came illegally from Mexico is one of the lucky ones. I came to the United States in 1992, because there was not a lot of work down there. Under the Trump administration’s strict enforcement procedures, he was targeted for deportation after being arrested for drunkenness in May of last year. Jailed near Los Angeles, he says a guard insulted him early in his nine months in detention. He said, “you’re a prisoner.” I said, “no, I’m not a prisoner. I’m in detention for immigration. I haven’t committed any crimes.”
Sergio says his relationship with the guards deteriorated from there. His lawyer who works for Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project, a program of Catholic Charities, applied for asylum for his client who suffered from mental illness. He did have some medical treatment in in detention, but it was it was clearly very inadequate. You know, he ended up attempting suicide a month before he was released. So, I think that’s you know a sign that his medication wasn’t right. He wasn’t getting, he wasn’t getting out of quick care while he was detained.
A judge agreed that Sergio would not get adequate care if he returned to Mexico。He was granted asylum in February. Sergio was granted asylum relatively quickly, but US officials say the system is being slowed by a growing number of claims. Sergio feels relieved that his case is resolved, but is still waiting for a visa. Frustrated, I’m frustrated because I’m staying at a shelter. Free but in temporary housing, he is ready for a new chapter to begin.