U.S. Closing the Door on Wealthy Mexicans

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It’s no secret that families from northern Mexico with the means to migrate to the United States are starting businesses and buying houses in Texas until the violence subsides.

Many of these Mexicans are seeking business visas that allow them to invest significant sums in start up businesses. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Immigration and Customs Enforcement decided in February to change three-to-five year business visas to one-year visas, according to the San Antonio Express-News. They are going to create so much red tape that wealthy Mexicans will go to Canada or elsewhere to invest.

It seems especially harsh to instill these visas changes now when Mexicans are dodging bullets in a drug war spurred on by the U.S.’ insatiable demand for drugs.

It’s already nearly impossible for any Mexican who isn’t rich to come to the United States legally. Also, Mexicans threatened by cartel hit men cannot claim political asylum in the United States. In order to qualify for asylum a person must have been persecuted by the government. Drug cartels don’t count.

Maybe the U.S. government hopes to weed out some cartel associates who might try to set up businesses here with all of the red tape? In any event, what will happen is that innocent Mexicans who would like to invest in the United States and keep their families safe from kidnappings and killings will suffer the most.

Late Day Correction:

Dallas Lawyer Bill Holston just sent me an email explaining the grounds for political asylum. Turns out that some folks in Mexico may be granted political asylum based on persecution by drug cartels.

“I wanted to correct your statement about asylum. I’ve done pro bono asylum cases for over 20 years, starting with people from Guatemala, but from over 20 different countries.

Under most circumstances, a client must apply for asylum within one year of entrance into the United States. He or she must be unable or unwilling to return to his/her country of origin due to a legitimate fear of future persecution. A person who has fled his or her home and come to the United States is eligible for asylum if he or she can prove a well-founded fear of persecution based on one or more of the following grounds:

  • Religion
  • Race
  • Nationality
  • Political opinion
  • Membership in a particular social group

In fact asylum is available for persecution by the government or ‘groups the government can’t or won’t control’ this is what happens in religious persecution cases by extremist groups in Muslim countries.

The issue is actually the reason for persecution which has to be for one of the protected grounds: A business person targeted by cartel, is probably not for one of those 5 protected grounds…the closest would be social group, which would be elites or business class.

Hope that helps. This is why journalists and police might have a colorable case for asylum, because they are being targeted as supporters of the government I suppose.”

 

Melissa del Bosque joined The Texas Observer staff in 2008. She specializes in reporting on immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border. Her work has been published in national and international publications including TIME magazine and the Mexico City-based Nexos magazine. She has a master’s in public health from Texas A&M University and a master’s in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.