READ MARCO SAAVEDRA's STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF HIS ASYLUM
I am asking for political asylum from Mexico because of the many instances of violence and murders of activist such as myself in my home country. Since 2010 I have outed myself as an undocumented immigrant to build solidarity within my marginalized community in the United States and to advocate for our rights. In that effort I turned myself in to Border Patrol in Florida in the summer of 2012 to look for other detainees that were not supposed to be a priority for deportation. Working with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance we exposed cases of medical neglect, lack of due process and accountability at the Broward Transitional Center, and secured the release of dozens of detainees. Our efforts escalated as we began communicating with immigrant youth in Mexico that would have benefited from DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) but were either deported or self-deported before the executive action was announced. For this campaign I volunteered to self-deport and return to the US as a group requesting asylum. This was the logical end to our activism, we had to take our plight to an international level and fight for protection from our home country. Though it was extremely risky to return to Mexico I never hesitated with my decision. It was my responsibility to use my privilege as a well-known Dreamer (Dream Act Eligible youth) to extend my resources to others who could not remain in the US. As Dreamers we used our platform in the media, our relationships in our community and with members of Congress to come to our aid and advocate with us. Four years into the Obama presidency we knew that Dreamers had achieved some political capital and if we did not capitalize on that momentum our movement would become stagnant and complacent so we decided to escalate our demands with the border crossing.
Today I work in family’s well reviewed Mexican restaurant. My father is disabled and diabetic and both my parents need my help as they approach middle age. However, I remain active in my community by offering the restaurant as a welcoming place for immigrants. My biggest fear were I to be deported is that I would not hesitate to fight back against the many abuses against migrants and indigenous people throughout Mexico. Indeed matters have only gotten worse as drug violence and political corruption have become one and the same. The disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers' College in Iguala, Guerrero is known throughout
the world. These were young adults who shared many of my own ideals; the conviction to help their own communities, to educate the disenfranchised against the corruption in government and for that they were ordered disappeared by local authorities who colluded with cartels. Having a faith background committed to social justice and an established record of acting on these ideals I would not tolerate any abuse of power, intimidation, or corruption from the government or from the drug cartels exposing me to much danger. If deported to Mexico I would establish contact with the migrant shelters that aid Central American migrants and try to serve there or in a rural school in my home state of Oaxaca building on the experiences I have gained through years of organizing in the US. My job remains the same on either side of the border. My life for the past 24 years has been in the United States and I seek protection in the place I call home. Sincerely, Marco Saavedra
Antonio Saavedra and Natalia Mendez wanted their three children to stay in school and stay out of trouble. They raised them without television, but with plenty of books, many of which are now crammed into a well-stocked library at La Morada, the Mexican restaurant the family runs on Willis Avenue in the South Bronx.