Here in New York, longtime immigration activist Marco Saavedra has won political asylum, setting a legal precedent for undocumented activists seeking refugee status in the United States. Saavedra was born to an Indigenous family in Oaxaca, Mexico, and brought to the U.S. as a child. He has been involved in several high-profile immigration actions. In 2012, Saavedra purposely got arrested by federal authorities to infiltrate the privately owned Broward Transitional Center in Florida, where he helped organize imprisoned asylum seekers. Marco Saavedra spoke to Democracy Now! in 2019 about his appeal for asylum.
Marco Saavedra: “I would be, for the first time, looking, you know, and being able to plan my life 10 years down the road, and for the first time, actually, feel fully accepted in the only country that I’ve known for most of my life. So I think that it would be monumental. And then I think, more significantly, it would be monumental for the immigrant rights movement that someone with my track history could benefit from this protection and set precedent for other human rights activists that could also benefit from this very severe war that exists in my country with organized crime and drug trafficking, and could hopefully also be seen as worthy of asylum.”