As drug violence has worsened in Mexico, an increasing number of Mexican police officers who have defied the drug cartels are seeking political asylum in the U.S., reports the Los Angeles Times. Most of the requests are being rejected because asylum is reserved for people fleeing political oppression or ethnic discrimination. Police officers who stood up to drug cartels don’t necessarily qualify.
Indeed, the U.S. government is aggressively fighting one former Mexican chief’s petition on the grounds that the threat that caused him to flee is inherent to police work, according to his lawyer. Mexican police have been “left out in the cold by the very institution they sought to protect,” said Bruce J. Einhorn, a retired immigration judge in Los Angeles who directs an asylum clinic at Pepperdine University School of Law. If their asylum applications are rejected, they can be deported to Mexico, to face near-certain retaliation from the cartels.