The viral photo showing a Honduran woman pulling two children away from tear gas has become a topic of interest again.
Maria Meza, the woman in the photo, as well as her five children crossed the border at Otay Mesa, California, on Dec. 17.
Representative Jimmy Gomez on Twitter confirmed that Maria Meza and her children have applied for asylum.
“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. They’re on American soil,” wrote Gomez.
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
According to The New York Times, the future is still far from set for Meza and her children. Before they can be granted asylum status, they need to attend an interview which assess if their basis for asylum is eligible. While Meza’s case is processed, Meza would either wait in a detention center, or be released on bond while wearing an ankle monitor.
“It could be a years-long process, that’s what it’s most likely to be,” said Kara Lynum, an immigration lawyer, to The New York Times. “She has an attorney waiting for her but it’s hard to say what happens next.”
If her asylum status is granted, Meza said that she would travel to Louisiana to unite with the girls’ father, according to Reuters.
America First or Migrants First
After Gomez published his post, many Twitter users replied with heated comments. Some said it wasn’t fair to only highlight one migrant case, while others said that America is not ready to take in the migrants.
“Ridiculous. How about the ones that filed the right way and have been waiting for months & years for processing? Why are you helping to break the very laws you were sworn to uphold?” questioned Twitter user AmericanKat Nationalist.
“Right! Now, take the locks off your doors and You, yes You support 20 Families with 10 Children each, with feeding, clothing, their education, medical and college for 20 years!!! Congratulations,” wrote Deborah Edwards on Twitter.
Watch: Migrant Mother Says She Was Pressured to Join Border Rush
Meza is one of the many people who traveled from Central America to Mexico as part of the migrant caravan. They were led to believe they would be welcomed to enter the United States only to be disappointed by the reality after they arrived at the border.
Many migrants have waited for weeks, even months to present their case, and many have since given up waiting. Some crossed the border illegally, some returned home, and some decided to settle in Mexico, at least temporarily.
There is speculation that the caravan migrants have been exploited in a political agenda. The living condition of the migrants waiting in the shelters was reported as appalling, and the border authorities were pushed to limits by the flows of migrants and the criminals hiding among them.
On the day when the photo was taken, U.S. border agents were attacked with rocks, glass bottles, and debris, and were forced to respond, according to Hector Garza, a border agent and president of the National Border Patrol Council.
While the photo shows a mother and her children, more than three quarters of the migrants are working-aged men. At least 600 convicted criminals have been identified traveling in the caravan with the migrants, reported The Epoch Times. Kirstjen Nielsen, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said in a statement that the media’s focus on a minority of women and children in the caravan is giving a false impression of the migrants’ demographic composition.
For her asylum application, Meza cites gang violence as the reason she is unable to return home. However, gang violence is not a valid basis to be granted asylum in the United States. According to Nielsen, historically, 90 percent of migrants from Central America have not been eligible for asylum.
From NTD News