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Migrant mom from iconic photo processed for asylum

Pedro Marrero
Dec 19, 2018
10:24 P.M.
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According to reports by Reuters, the migrant woman who was captured in a now iconic picture as she flew from tear gas with her daughters at the US-Mexico border is part of a group that applied for asylum on December 17.

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Witnesses from the news agency and the lawyers representing a group of migrants from Central America seeking asylum in the US revealed that Honduran mother Maria Meza and her two daughters are among the applicants.

Meza and her children are recognizable from a widely circulated photograph taken by Kim Kyung-Hoon on November 26, in the middle of a crash between migrants trying to enter the US and Border Protection officials at the Tijuana point of entry.

Democratic US Representative Jimmy Gomez, who assisted the group consisting mostly in unaccompanied minors as they were processed by border authorities, confirmed the news in a tweet.

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Read more on our Twitter account @amomama_usa

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“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.”

-Rep. Jimmy Gomez, Twitter, December 17, 2018.

Gomez added that he and fellow Representative Nanette D. Barragán were staying around to oversee the procedures and used the hashtag #RefugeesWelcome as well as mentioning the advocacy group Families Belong Together.

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The NGO was formed in response to the Trump’s administration family separation policy earlier in 2018, and they have offered legal counseling to this group, which passed through at the Otay Mesa port of entry in Tijuana, Mexico.

The metering system used by US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) makes asylum seekers wait in line for months before their cases are heard, but sometimes individuals considered vulnerable are processed more rapidly.

NBC News producer Annie Rose Ramos took to Twitter to share a haunting photo of Meza looking directly at the camera while holding a tear-gas canister in her hand, with the mother-of-two recalling: “I just grabbed my kids and ran.”

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Meza’s group fits that category, and after four hours waiting at the point of entry, they were received in the US territory.

The CBP denies any intentional interference to the asylum seeking process, and they have explained that the number of seekers has increased in more than a 100 percent this year, causing an overcapacity at the points of entry.

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“As we have done for several years, when our ports of entry reach capacity, we have to manage the queues and individuals presenting without documents may need to wait in Mexico as CBP officers work to process those already within our facilities,” said a CBP source.

The image of Meza running away from tear-gas canisters flying across the border while trying to protect her two daughters became a symbol of the struggle of millions who hope to have a future in the US.

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Being a greatly divisive subject in America’s political spectrum, the photo became a sort of symbolic battleground for opinions, with some people trying to suggest that the image was staged to make Trump look bad.

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But according to the New Yorker, there is enough evidence to prove that the incident took place, with even the CBP confirming that tear gas was used in the site and moment of the photography.

NBC News producer Annie Rose Ramos took to Twitter to share a haunting photo of Meza looking directly at the camera while holding a tear-gas canister in her hand, with the mother-of-two recalling: “I just grabbed my kids and ran.”

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