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Deported Immigrants Regroup After Failed Attempt To Re-Enter U.S.

Deported After Seeking Asylum Or Humanitarian Parole

Some of the former U.S. residents and deportees who sought to re-enter the U.S. by asking for political asylum or humanitarian parole are staying in Tijuana after their requests were denied.

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A house in Tijuana just across the U.S.-Mexico border has become a refuge for immigrants deported from the United States after seeking asylum or humanitarian parole at a mass border action in March.

A house in Tijuana just across the U.S.-Mexico border has become a refuge for immigrants deported from the United States after seeking asylum or humanitarian parole at a mass border action in March.

Selene Cortez, 24, sullenly checked her Facebook page several days after landing at the house. It was her second time being deported from the U.S. The first happened in 2008 after immigration agents boarded a bus she was riding and found she was in the country illegally.

Then on March 10 she and about 35 other former U.S. residents — most of them brought to the U.S. as children by their parents — walked up to the Otay Mesa Port of Entry and asked for political asylum. Two other groups followed in subsequent days.

An asylum officer denied Cortez’s request and she was deported for the second time last week. Now, she and other deportees from the March action are regrouping in Tijuana to figure out their next move.

“I want to try any other possible ways, like legal ways, to get back home,” Cortez said. “I don’t want to be here.”

Cortez’s family lives in Texas. She said she feared the drug violence in the city where she had been studying in Veracruz, Mexico.

Of the 90 adult immigrants who participated in the March protest, 32 have been paroled into the U.S., 34 are still in detention and 24 have been deported, according to David Bennion, a Philadelphia-based immigration lawyer who is advising the group.

The Obama administration currently is reviewing its deportation policies, reportedly with an eye toward keeping families together. At the same time, however, immigration authorities recently raised the bar on applying for asylum.

It’s unclear whether any policy change would apply to immigrants who have already been deported.

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