Michigan lawmakers ask ICE to stop deportation of Mexican journalist

Michigan lawmakers ask ICE to stop deportation of Mexican journalist
© Greg Nash

Reps. Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Democrats call on Pompeo to restore funding to Gaza Democratic congresswomen wear white to Trump's address in honor of suffrage movement MORE (D-Mich.) and Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Democrats seek to preempt Trump message on health care | E-cigarette executives set for grilling | Dems urge emergency funding for coronavirus Democrats slam GOP on drug prices in bilingual digital ads Lawmakers discuss how to work together in midst of impeachment fight MORE (R-Mich.) are calling upon immigration officials to halt the deportation of Mexican journalist Emilio Gutiérrez Soto and instead grant him asylum. 

A judge in Texas ordered in February that Gutiérrez Soto, who is a journalism fellow at the University of Michigan, be deported despite his request for asylum, according to The Associated Press

"The University of Michigan community, members of the media, advocates for press freedom around the country, and many Americans continue to share our deep concerns about Mr. Gutiérrez Soto’s safety should he return to Mexico,” Dingell and Upton wrote in a letter Wednesday to Ronald Vitiello, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

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“Mexico remains the deadliest country for journalists worldwide that is not engaged in armed conflict, and two journalists have already been murdered in the country this year," they added. "We strongly supports his request for asylum. It is our hope that due consideration is given to his case, and we thank you for your attention to this important matter.”

They said in their letter to Vitiello that Gutiérrez Soto documented crimes committed by Mexican soldiers and received death threats from people connected to the Mexican military following his reporting. 

Judge Robert Hough ruled that the fears expressed by Gutiérrez Soto were “merely speculative” because his articles were published a decade ago, according to the AP. Hough also said that Mexico “has laws which protect free speech and the government generally respects these rights.”

Reporters without Borders found that, in 2017, Mexico was the second deadliest country for journalists, with 11 reporters killed in the country. 

ICE declined to comment on the letter. The University of Michigan did not respond to a request for comment.

Updated 4:28 p.m.