The Bravest Woman In Mexico is apparently not. Marisol Valles has fled Mexico, not because of a rude, crude, and sexist culture, but because of threats from drug dealers. And she has landed asylum status in the United States, complete with food stamps, welfare, free housing, and an education for her child.
A young woman who volunteered to lead her Mexican hometown's police department after a predecessor was beheaded by drug gangs has fled her post to seek asylum in the U.S., authorities said Tuesday.Marisol Valles was declared in headlines "The Bravest Woman in Mexico" when she took the job in the Mexican town of Práxedis G. Guerrero last year. Now, she is seeking asylum near El Paso, Texas, said Gustavo de la Rosa, the human-rights ombudsman in the Mexican state of Chihuahua where Práxedis is located. Ms. Valles couldn't be reached for comment and it wasn't clear if she was represented by an attorney.
A spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Ms. Valles was in the U.S., adding that "she will have the opportunity to present the facts of her case before an impartial immigration judge." He said he couldn't comment further because of privacy concerns.
Ms. Valles's asylum request adds to Mexico's struggle to convince both the U.S. and its own people that it can take on drug gangs that have killed more than 31,000 people since the nation declared war on them in 2006.
Just this week, Ms. Valles was ranked by Newsweek alongside talk-show host Oprah Winfrey and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a list of "women who shake the world."In northern states such as Chihuahua, hundreds of police officers have been slain by drug traffickers who have targeted officers' families, homes and places of work. Recent days have been particularly bloody. On Sunday, seven state policemen were ambushed and killed in Culiacan, home to Mexico's most powerful drug cartel. The next day, 18 people were killed in a shootout in the northern state of Tamaulipas that authorities attributed to rival gangs. Officials contacted Tuesday said they didn't know of other cases of law-enforcement officials who had fled Mexico seeking asylum.
Ms. Valles took the job in October as police chief in Práxedis, a small but very violent town of about 9,000 people along the border. It is just a short drive from Mexico's most violent city, Ciudad Juárez.
Few wanted the job. Earlier in 2010, towns in the cotton-growing valley where Práxedis is situated had been ransacked as two powerful drug gangs, the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels, fought for control outside of Ciudad Juárez. Many fled as churches were set ablaze and residents were ordered from their homes by menacing messages left in public places by cartel hit men.Many Mexican cities facing similar problems have hired former military generals to head their police departments as a signal to organized crime of a crackdown. Práxedis seemingly took a much different approach with Ms. Valles, who at just 20 years old was still working on a criminology degree when she was tapped to head the 13-officer department.
Ms. Valles said she wouldn't take on cartels directly, but focus on preventative measures like neighborhood watch groups.
The week Ms. Valles took the job, a local politician and his son were killed in the valley. In Guadalupe, a neighboring town where police officers had fled or been killed, 28-year-old Erika Gandara, the last officer remaining, was kidnapped. She hasn't been heard from since.
Those in Práxedis say Ms. Valles didn't say she was about to flee. "She gave no indication that she had been threatened, and she didn't act in a way we could guess she was fearful," said Andres Morales, the mayor's secretary. Mr. Morales said she had asked for an eight-day leave for a personal matter involving her child and said she would return Monday. The city fired her when she didn't come back and they couldn't reach her.
It isn't clear how Ms. Valles's case will fare in a U.S. immigration court. Steve Legomsky, an asylum expert and professor at Washington University in St. Louis said that while most asylum cases involve victims persecuted by a government, it is also possible to receive protection in cases where a government is unable to protect one from private individuals, such as a drug gang.
The harder task, he said, would be proving to a judge that Ms. Valles would be harmed because she belong to one of the five traditional categories covered by U.S. asylum law: race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a specific social group. The social-group category seemed the most likely fit, Mr. Legomsky said. "But you'd have to argue that law enforcement officers—perhaps police chiefs
specifically—are part of a 'social group,' " he said, which might be difficult.
Asylum attorneys say such cases put the U.S. in a tough position, because granting requests could encourage more Mexicans in violent areas to flee their country, putting a burden on the U.S. In 2009, the U.S. received some 2,816 defensive asylum requests form Mexico with 62 approved and 366 denied. In 2008, the figure was 3,459 with 72 approved and 250 denied, according to the Justice Department.
And, of course, she is not in custody, and brought her child with her, who is now enrolled at American tax-payer expense in a public school. She apparently has employment authorization, but it is not clear how she entered. Most likely illegally, as she was an unlikely candidate for a visitor's visa.
This case though illustrates the massive fraud in the asylum process. The laws regulating asylum are recent and specifically designed for person's fleeing oppressive communist governments. The laws specifically state that the person fleeing oppression must be the victim of the activity of a foreign government for political or religious activity or belief.
Since the passage of the laws however, judicial and bureaucratic interpretation has expanded to those supposedly victims of a failure of a foreign government to take action to protect their citizens from activity of other citizens. It was later expanded to non-political or religious activity to include transvestism, homosexuality, and other personality disorders. It was also expanded to women who claim to be victims of domestic violence, but they are not even required to present any evidence, much less a conviction or even an arrest of their attacker. They can even include their supposed attacker on their petition for a green card. Even worse, gangmembers themselves now qualify for asylum. As they are now considered a "particular social group," wording that when written only referred to the oppressed middle class from communist countries.
Asylum fraud further expanded when aliens began getting status by claiming they were victims of crime. It was quite common for a while for Philippino nationals to claim they were the victim of the New People's Army, a communist terrorist organization, and that the Philippino government could not protect them.
Now we have an avalanche of Mexicans claiming asylum based on massive and widespread violence from the drug cartels. Never mind that the Mexican government is locked in death struggle with the cartels, just as the Philippino government has been in a long and continueing conflict with the NPA.
But, in the end, asylum is just another method of immigration, fueled by spineless bureaucrats, power hungry federal judges, and the immigration bar. None of the expansions of asylum were authorized by Congress, except for the fake domestic violence victims, but even there, Congress never stated that fake victims could get status with no evidence, or even sponsor their supposed attackers on their petitions for residency.
Of course, the fraud is encouraged by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, who actively discourage their officers from finding fraud. They even grant openly fraudulent asylum claims to homosexuals from Brazil, where homosexuality and transvestism are both legal and openly celebrated in Rio's Carnival.
And it is clear that Valles claim is based on the lawless expansion of asylum in the United States. Life is dangerous in many countries, but our asylum laws were never created for crime victims. And it is only encourage by policies such as not holding asylum seekers in custody and rewarding them with lifetime welfare benefits. And it appears that she planned it, as no one seemed to notice that she was frightened and she stated that she would not be taking on the cartels when she was hired. Most likely this was just an opportunity for her to head north.