On November 25th of this year, US Border Patrol troops shot tear gas at asylum seekers assembled at the border. While CBP claimed the canisters were aimed at rock throwing agitators, the gas spread far and wide.
Reuters shot a startling image of a mother fleeing the gas with her two diaper-clad children. That Mother, Maria Lila Meza Castro, is now in the United States having filed a claim for asylum.
President Trump had used charged language to describe the asylum seekers at the border. He tweeted, “Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border. Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!”
The startling image of a terrified Ms. Meza running with her children put a human face on the crisis. The majority of asylum seekers are Mothers with children, fleeing dangerous and impoverished situations. Meza told NBC, “I just grabbed my kids and ran.”
The news that Ms. Meza and her family are now in the US was tweeted out by Representative Jimmy Gomez, who serves California’s 34th district. Gomez has been camping out at the border to help ensure the safety of migrants seeking asylum. He says of Meza, “Her brother was killed by a drug trafficker, and then one of her older children was recruited in a drug gang…and that’s why she decided to flee to the U.S. That’s why she left.”
After 7hrs, I can now confirm:
Maria Meza & her kids — featured in this @Reuters image fleeing tear gas at the border last month — just filed for asylum.
— Rep. Jimmy Gomez (@RepJimmyGomez) December 18, 2018
The courts will now decide if the fears of Ms. Meza and other asylum seekers are credible. The migrants, who have waited weeks to make their claims, will be camped out in the San Diego area until a decision is made on their claims.
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Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey-based politics and technology writer. His work has been featured in psfk.com, foxsports.com, and PoliticusUSA. An avid pet lover, he has been known to contribute to Pet Lifestyles Magazine. He enjoys sports, politics, technology, and spending time at the shore with his family.