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Border & Immigration

Number Of Mexican Asylum Grantees At 22-Year High

Credit: John Rosman
Credit: John Rosman

The Miami Herald profiled a foreign national who recently received asylum. Policarpo Chavira, a bus driver and union leader, fled Juarez with his family after his son was held hostage for five days.

His story is part of a growing trend of Mexicans granted asylum at historical rates due to the drug war. That’s not to imply the numbers of Mexicans receiving asylum are high:

The latest figures from the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the Justice Department unit that oversees immigration courts, show that of the 9,206 Mexicans who applied for asylum in fiscal year 2012, only 126 were permitted to settle in the United States. That is almost three times the number of Mexicans who were granted asylum in 2006.

According to a 2011 Congressional Research Service report, in recent years around 30 percent of cases in front of USCIS or EOIR were granted asylum.


Although growing in number, Mexican nationals still make up a minority of those given asylum. In 2012, out of 9,206 applications, only 126 Mexican nationals were granted asylum — 1.4 percent.

In comparison, 5,383 Chinese nationals were granted asylum the same year, or 49 percent.

The U.S. grants asylum to immigrants who have or fear suffering persecution due to race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Here are the top five countries in terms of requests and visas granted: