Deaf Immigrants Apply for Asylum
Sixty deaf immigrants are applying for asylum in the U.S. based on alleged persecutions for their deafness. They are at-risk applicants, many of them illegal. In an attempt to raise awareness of deaf struggles abroad, the applicants share terrible stories of abuse, lack of rights and education and deaf-based persecution in their homelands, which primarily include Mexico but include Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, Lebanon and the Philippines. Governmentally, Mexico lacks laws that ensure the deaf services, and culturally many families keep their loved ones away from society out of shame or based on the belief that the deaf cannot live independently.
Many of the applicants were functionally illiterate, coming from schools without sign-language interpreters where bullying and harassment from teachers and fellow students are common. Although asylum law is complex and their applicants are risky, for most the risk is worth it to escape persecution in Mexico and receive adequate access to services and education in the U.S.
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