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June 12, 2014

African Asylum Seekers Make Epic Trek Through Latin America To Reach The U.S.
By John Stanton

Since late December, dozens of Africans seeking asylum have entered the United States not by flying directly into the country, but by going first to South or Central America and then trekking northward along the “Migrant Trail” that has been used for decades by Latino migrants to cross into the U.S. from Mexico. It is an extremely dangerous journey, even for Latin Americans who know the region’s customs and political realities, let alone for migrants who don’t speak the language and have little in common with the local population. They must walk for hundreds of miles in the jungle, pay off corrupt border officials and the human smugglers known as coyotes, and sometimes battle thieves. If they survive this harrowing journey and finally cross onto American soil, then their dreams of achieving asylum depend to a shocking extent on which border town they choose to enter the United States. In some jurisdictions, judges grant asylum to 62% of those who come before them. In others, judges grant just 13%, according to federal data collected by the University of Syracuse’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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