Los Angeles Times, 6/15/2009
As drug violence has worsened in Mexico, businesspeople, journalists and other professionals have been seeking refuge in the U.S. But few have as much at stake as law enforcement figures who defy the cartels.
No statistics are available on how many police officers have sought asylum in this country, but government sources and immigration attorneys suggest the number is increasing.
That is no surprise, because 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.
Police officers seeking refuge in this country face an uncertain future. If their asylum applications are rejected, they can be deported to Mexico, to face near-certain retaliation from the cartels. To avoid such a fate, they can try to strike a deal with U.S. authorities to provide information about drug trafficking in Mexico. Or they can try to remain in this country illegally.
Their plight poses a quandary for U.S. officials, who are seeking to bolster honest Mexican police to curb the influence of the cartels.