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When I spoke to Coronilla’s wife shortly after his death, she told me that she’d returned to Mexico to claim his body. The principle was enshrined in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, formalizing the concept of the “refugee” and insuring safe harbor for people who could show “a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.” No one with a credible fear of persecution could be expelled “in any manner whatsoever to a territory where he or she fears threats to life or freedom.”For the U.S., the effort to protect refugees was also an act of atonement.In March, Coronilla went to the Travis County courthouse for what, before Trump’s election, would likely have been a quick misdemeanor hearing.Travis was a “sanctuary jurisdiction,” meaning that the sheriff there declined to honor most federal detention requests agents in Travis County had suddenly appeared in the courthouse.The lawsuit, and others like it, has implications for the treatment of hundreds of thousands of immigrants who have found refuge in the United States, and for whom deportation can be tantamount to death.Some, like Laura, are survivors of domestic violence seeking safety in the U. Others, like Elizabeth, are Dreamers, undocumented youths who were granted relief from deportation under President Obama, only to have their status imperilled by his successor.left the restaurant where she waitressed, in Pharr, Texas, and drove off in her white Chevy. Her twenty-third birthday was nine days away, and she and her nineteen-year-old cousin, Elizabeth, had been discussing party plans at the restaurant.
” Solis asked.“No,” Laura said, glancing anxiously at her cousin and her friends. Only Elizabeth had a visa, which she fished out of her purse. “I’m calling Border Patrol,” he said—an unusual move, at the time, for a small-town cop in South Texas. At five feet two inches and barely a hundred pounds, she looked younger than her age. citizens and steady jobs they didn’t want to lose, but they knew that Laura’s fear was distinct.
In 1939, the government had rejected a boat carrying more than nine hundred Jewish escapees from Nazi Germany.
At least two hundred of them were later killed in the Holocaust.
Now they were heading home, and giving two of Laura’s friends a ride, with a quick detour for hamburgers.
Elizabeth said that, as they neared the highway, a cop flashed his lights at them.