Only 1.6 percent of Mexicans seeking political asylum are accepted by U.S. courts

EL PASO — Only 1.6 percent of Mexicans seeking political asylum in the United States have been approved in the last five years, while the national approval rate during this same time for all asylum requests was 49.4 percent. Approval rates for asylum cases vary by district and according to national statistics two of six immigration judges in El Paso have among the lowest asylum approval rates in the nation.  Judge William L. Abbott denied asylum requests to 80.1 percent of applicants and Judge Thomas C. Roepke’s denial rate is 96.3 percent. The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a nonpartisan center based at Syracuse University, tracks the enforcement activities of the federal government. TRAC analyzed the decisions of 273 immigration judges that have ruled in at least 100 political asylum cases in the last five years.

Pew Hispanic Center

Pew Study: Who are our Hispanic leaders? Muchos

EL PASO — I was shocked to read in a recent article from the Pew Hispanic Center that 62 percent of U.S. Hispanics do not know who the most important Latino leader in the country is today. Mi gente, my people, without a leader? What a distressing thought. The best explanation I found for this anomaly is in an article by Juana Bordas of The Huffington Post. In her article, “Latino Leadership Follows A New Model,” Bordas says: “Latinos are forging a new model of leadership.

Ector Joel Acosta, 21, author of The Rise of the Borderland Man. (Valori K. Corral-Nava/

Borderland Man – ebook conveys the hope that teens damaged by violence and desperation can heal

EL PASO – Ector Joel Acosta studies biochemistry and physics at the University of Texas at El Paso and plans to apply to medical school to become a dermatologist, but for now he has adopted a new identity – Borderland Man. In this new role, Acosta, 21, is now a published Latino writer and his first book Rise of the Borderland Man is for sale online. Acosta began writing the fictional account of a young man living in the borderland along the divide between El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico a year ago. Frustrated by the long and tedious process of finding a publisher, he published the novel as an e-book this year. “I was always keeping my mind on something – chess, writing, and art,” said Acosta who is a junior at UTEP.

Bianey Reyes was granted asylum in the U.S. this summer after a three-year-wait. (Luis Hernández/

Teenage asylee from Juarez speaks out about the murders of her family members

“They never did any harm to anyone and still they continued to kill them… For those of us left we continue to struggle and ask for justice.”

EL PASO – Bianey Reyes, 18, nervously pats down the wrinkles in her light-blue t-shirt. She searches for the courage to look up from the floor and her Converse shoes, then raises her head high and sets her brown eyes on a room filled with 20 visiting journalists. In a quiet, restrained voice, she begins to describe the kidnapping of various members of her family, and the murders of her father, uncles, aunts, and cousins by suspected members of the Mexican military in el Valle de Juarez over the last five years. “In all of these events that happened to my family, the military was always involved and they have yet to arrest anyone responsible for the murders,” said Reyes, who attends El Paso Community College and was granted asylum in the U.S. this summer after a three-year wait. Reyes testimony at a recent immigration reporting workshop at the University of Texas at El Paso marks the first time she has gone public with her ordeal.

Josue Aguilar/Danny Boy is a “Dreamer” and a vlog sensation

By Valori K. Corral-Nava

His college classmates would never guess that Josue Daniel Aguilar’s quirky Internet alias is Danny Boy and his comedy routine has been featured on “Hoy!,” Mexico’s national television version of the Today Show. Fame comes from his vlog page called Jaguer-U where Aguilar, a UTEP Digital Media major, has posted over 120 quirky comic Spanish language videos that have attracted an estimated 11 million views on Youtube.  He’s also had some measure of financial success as funds flow in daily from product placement ads in his videos. The self-made Internet sensation is living the American dream that any young ambitious 20-year-old would want but with a caveat. Until last November, when the U.S. government approved his application for Deferred Status from deportation, he was living in this country illegally.