BY MICHEL MARIZCO -- The lawyer for the group of immigrant activists known as the "Dream 9" said she expects all her clients will be released back to the U.S. cities they lived in, while they await an asylum hearing. But asylum hearings can take years to complete.
Margo Cowan is representing the activists who crossed into the U.S. two weeks ago asking for asylum from Mexico. They have been detained ever since. But by Tuesday afternoon, officials had agreed to at least hear their plea for asylum. It’s called establishing a credible fear of persecution. Cowan says she’s now asking the United States to release them while they await their hearing.
"Most people who make that showing absent criminal history and absent some thought that they’re a flight risk are released," Cowan said.
She also said she has received hundreds of requests from other Mexican nationals living in Mexico who might qualify for a temporary visa under President Obama’s deferred action and might also turn themselves over to Customs and Border Protection. She said the activists now in detention did not commit an act of civil disobedience to come back into the country.
"Well, you know, it’s been characteriized as an act of civil disobedience but I’m not sure that it is. There’ve been many people who’ve gotten in touch with me that are similarily situated to these young people and they may very well present themselves at the port," Cowan said.
Meanwhile, in Phoenix, organized protesters at Obama's visit demanded the release of the Dream 9. By Tuesday evening, activists were still waiting to see if the group would be released to await their asylum hearings.