San Ysidro Port of Entry

El Salvadorian Father Murdered in Tijuana While Awaiting Asylum

A father of two was killed in Tijuana as he awaited his court date through the asylum process.

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Through tears, an El Salvadorian asylum seeker shared how her husband was violently killed in Tijuana while they awaited their next court date to seek asylum.

“I won’t get my husband back, we had so many plans for our children and everything was ruined because they don't believe us,” the mother and wife said. She did not want to share her name for fear of retaliation.

She told NBC 7 that her family went through the legal asylum process when they arrived at the San Ysidro Port of entry in Tijuana in September 2019.

After a period in a detention center, they completed a credible fear interview to explain their safety concerns. The family of four were told to wait in Mexico, but tragedy struck in November.

“When they returned to Mexico, the husband was violently murdered with his throat slashed, stabbed in the stomach, a very brutal violent death,” immigration attorney Richard Sterger said.

"Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world," Sterger said. "It's one of the most lawless in the world, meaning that less than 1% of murders are ever brought to court."

The mother and two children went back to the border asking for help and were admitted for further legal proceedings, Sterger said. Sterger said he was trying to transfer their case from San Diego to San Francisco where they have family.

Sterger said he has been seeing more and more cases like this one since the implementation of the Trump administration’s "Remain in Mexico" policy.

“Put people who don't have access to legal representation in a society that is violent and has a lack of police control over safety, these people are the obvious targets of criminal activity,” Sterger said.

Sterger said what he finds frustrating is the lack of resources migrants have in Tijuana.

“A place where you don’t have a permanent residence, don’t have family to assist you, a place where you don’t have public resources or a nonprofit’s help, and probably the most difficult of all, many have very legitimate asylum claims that they’re fleeing their country,” he said.

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