For first time in years, U.S. gives asylum to threatened Mexican journalist

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  • September 21, 2010

By Ingrid Bachmann

Almost two years after crossing the border from Mexico, journalist Jorge Luis Aguirre was granted asylum in the United States, reported La Jornada. The editor of the news site LaPolaka.com had gone into exile after receiving threats when he went to the funeral of slain reporter Armando Rodríguez in Ciudad Juárez. At the time, Aguirre was warned that he was next.

This is the first case of asylum being granted to a Mexican journalist in the United States this decade, explained the news agency AFP. Currently, another three reporters are seeking asylum because of the violence linked to drug trafficking that is shaking Mexico. One of them is a, cameraman who was kidnapped last July.

Aguirre's case opens the doors for, and raises the hopes of other journalists seeking political asylum, the migration attorney representing the three journalists' asylum claims told El Diario de El Paso. “It is a signal that Washington is listening," he said.

Aguirre characterized his case as a “win for all Mexican journalists persecuted and killed by politicians in collusion with organized crime," he said, as quoted in La Polaka.

Before Aguirre, at least one Mexican journalist obtained asylum in the United States. José Tomás Capistrán Ríos was granted asylum in 1997, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.