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Asylum seekers face steeper hurdles to remain in U.S.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Asylum seekers face steeper hurdles to remain in U.S.


"Ammar Hebah and Selvin Martinez both wound up in New Jersey after fleeing their native countries in fear for their lives.

Hebah’s voyage to the United States began after a civil war broke out in Yemen in 2015. Martinez reached U.S. soil from Honduras in 2016, a trek he said he took after he was robbed and threatened by gang members. When the men arrived in New Jersey, they each requested asylum and were placed in immigration detention in Elizabeth.

That’s where their stories diverge. After spending months in detention, Hebah was granted asylum, but Martinez’s application was denied. He is free but is wearing a monitoring bracelet as he awaits a decision on his appeal.

“I feel very scared, nervous, in thinking about it because I honestly don’t know if they will approve it,’’ said Martinez, 22, who now lives in Jersey City..."

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