Debbie Dingell

03/13/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/13/2019 15:49

Dingell, Upton Urge Immigration Officials to Halt Deportation of Emilio Gutiérrez Soto, UMich Journalism Fellow

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Fred Upton (R-MI) pressed US Immigration officials to halt the deportation of University of Michigan Knight-Wallace Fellowship for Journalists recipient Emilio Gutiérrez Soto, and approve his request for asylum in the United States.

As a reporter in Ascensión, Mexico for El Diario Del Noroeste, Soto documented crimes committed by Mexican soldiers. As a result of his reporting, Gutiérrez Soto received multiple death threats from the figures affiliated with the Mexican Military. In 2008, Gutiérrez Soto and his son fled to New Mexico to seek asylum amidst the deteriorating climate for press freedoms in Mexico.

Gutiérrez Soto has abided by US laws and fully cooperated with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) while his case has been adjudicated. Soto is currently a recipient of the 2018-19 Knight-Wallace Fellowship for Journalists at the University of Michigan, where he has studied issues regarding the safety and freedom of the press while service as an invaluable resource to the community at large.

Dingell and Upton urged ICE in a letter Wednesday to halt Gutiérrez Soto's deportation and take urgent action to decide his asylum case. Dingell introduced what is known as a private bill, one that applies specifically to Gutiérrez Soto's case and, if passed, would provide him and his son relief.

'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,' wrote Dingell and Upton. '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. Given this set of facts, along with the legitimate documented concerns surrounding Mr. Gutiérrez Soto's safety, 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.'

You can read the full letter here or below.

Dear Acting Director Vitiello,

This letter is in support of Mr. Emilio Gutiérrez Soto and his request for asylum in the United States. Mr. Gutierrez is a well-respected journalist worldwide and is currently a fellow at the University of Michigan. 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.

Mr. Gutiérrez Soto spent years as a reporter in Ascensión, Mexico for El Diario Del Noroeste, during which time he documented crimes committed by Mexican soldiers as part of a wider news beat. As a result of his reporting, Mr. Gutiérrez Soto received multiple death threats from figures affiliated with the Mexican military. These incidents, along with a deteriorating climate for press freedom, caused Mr. Gutiérrez Soto and his son to flee to a New Mexico border crossing in 2008 to seek asylum.

Since this time, Mr. Gutiérrez Soto and his son have lived in the United States abiding by the law and fully cooperating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) while his case has been adjudicated. Throughout these legal proceedings, Mr. Gutiérrez Soto's case has received widespread support from the National Press Club, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Reporters Without Borders, and other groups who have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of his situation.

As mentioned, Mr. Gutiérrez Soto is currently a recipient of the 2018-19 Knight-Wallace Fellowship for Journalists at the University of Michigan, where he has studied issues regarding the safety and freedom of the press while service as an invaluable resource to the community at large.

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. Given this set of facts, along with the legitimate documented concerns surrounding Mr. Gutiérrez Soto's safety, 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.

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