We have previously talked about asylum, the process that the U.S. government uses to protect people who have suffered persecution in their home countries for a variety of reasons. In order to qualify for asylum, people must be persecuted for one of five reasons: political opinion, religion, race, nationality or membership in a particular social group. It is also acceptable for someone to fear future persecution based on one of those categories, too.
Of course, if someone in Reading is attempting to apply for asylum, he or she needs to provide evidence that supports his or her well-founded fear of persecution. That evidence can be research reports that show the government is going after members of certain political parties or it can be threatening letters that mention the applicant's race. For one man who left the drug violence plaguing northern Mexico, he was able to show his mutilated legs.
The man had managed to stay out of the violence. He had worked in a sporting concessions business, but in 2011 he was targeted by one of the drug cartels to provide them with a monthly income. After he had trouble paying the cartel, a few members of the gang hacked off his legs.
After moving to the United States with his family and seeking asylum, his application was put on hold because it was considered a "low priority." According to the Department of Justice, countries in which there are considerable human and political rights violations take priority over countries that struggle with drug wars.
Fortunately, as the man waits for his asylum case to come up, he has been given a work permit, so he can continue to provide for his family.
Source: Fox News, "After Mexican Drug Cartels Took His Legs, Carlos Gutiérrez Cycles For Asylum In The U.S.," Andrew O'Reilly, Nov. 1, 2013