Peter Costantini ~ Seattle ~ May 25, 2020

Mother & daughter reunited at airport

Mother & daughter reunited at airport. Photo: anonymous

“Shelter from the Storm” presents a panorama of asylum – the protective immigration status many migrants have sought at the U.S. southwest border – from shifting angles of experience, law, demography, economics, history and politics.”

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“Ana and her teenage daughter Teresita (not their real names) fled their home in a Central American city after a local gangster put a gun to Teresita’s head and told Ana that he would kill her daughter if she didn’t pay protection for her little corner store. After eight days of travel, they arrived at what Mexicans call el río Bravo and got into an inflatable boat. In the middle of the river, it started leaking air. Ana, who does not know how to swim, tried vainly to stop the leak with her hands. Teresita can swim, so Ana gave her the plastic bag with their papers and IDs. Mother and daughter clutched each other.”

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“Asylum means protection against being sent back to a home country where you might be persecuted. It’s recognized as a fundamental human right by United Nations treaties, and protected by international and U.S. laws. Asylum and refugee status are both granted in cases of ‘well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, membership in a particular social group, political opinion, or national origin.’”

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This 71-page report is heavily footnoted and referenced. It can be downloaded as a PDF file from:
Google Drive:


For an informative overview of the legalities of asylum, see the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project webcast, “Asylum for Beginners” - video & slides. Thanks to NWIRP for linking to this paper.


Some of my previous stories on immigration include:

“In the Footsteps of the Millennium Migration – download” (footnoted report). Crossover Dreams – Huffington Post, October 12, 2017.

“How the ‘Millennium Migration’ from Latin America Shaped the U.S. for the Better”. Foreign Policy In Focus, October 30, 2017.

“Manufacturing illegality: An Interview with Mae Ngai”. Foreign Policy In Focus, January 16, 2019.

“‘Being Tortured Has Been the Best Experience of My Life’”. Foreign Policy In Focus, September 25, 2015.

I’ve also published over 20 pieces on immigration and related topics on Inter Press Service:


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