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USA-IMMIGRATION/REUNION
RTX6CPG4
July 25, 2018
Maria Marroquin Perdomo fretted as she waited with her 11-year-old son, Abisai, in the New Orleans International...
Brownsville, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Reunited family's next challenge: fight for U.S. asylum
Maria Marroquin Perdomo fretted as she waited with her 11-year-old son, Abisai, in the New Orleans International Airport. A day earlier, the mother and son had been reunited in Texas after being separated by U.S. immigration officials for more than a month, an ordeal that followed a harrowing journey from Honduras. Now they awaited another reunion: With the father Abisai had not seen in person since he was an infant. For days, she had been consumed by a range of emotions: joy and relief at finding her son; anxiety over whether his father truly wanted her with him after a long estrangement; guilt over the terrors Abisai had suffered; and fear over how her asylum case would play out amid a sweeping U.S. immigration crackdown. Such anxieties are common as the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump scrambles to return as many as 2,500 immigrant children to their parents by a court-ordered deadline of July 26. The joyful reunions are by no means happy endings. Even as some of the parents get glimpses of the lives they had hoped for in America, they face new challenges in avoiding deportation and keeping their families together. For Marroquin Perdomo, that will mean trying to convince an immigration judge she fled Honduras for one of the specific reasons outlined in asylum laws. Making that case got much harder last month with an appellate decision issued by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that immigration attorneys say disallowed some of the asylum justifications most often cited by Central Americans, including fear of unchecked domestic or gang violence. Marroquin Perdomo has passed a first hurdle, convincing an asylum officer that she has a "credible fear" of returning home. Sessions, in his June 11 decision, sharply narrowed the circumstances under which immigrants can use violence at home as grounds for U.S. asylum. To qualify, applicants now need to show either that the government condoned the violence or that they were targeted because of their membership in
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