Staunton, August 21 – Citizens of the Russian Federation and other former Soviet republics are increasingly seeking to gain political asylum in the US by entering that country via Mexico, a strategy they have adopted because the pandemic closed many US consulates abroad the tensions between Washington and Moscow have reduced the chances to apply there.
The numbers have become so large, even sympathetic Russians and their lawyers in the US say, that it is almost certain that either the US or Mexico will soon take steps to limit this flow as Mexico did in 2018-2019 (vinograd.us/rossijane-massovo-begut-v-ssha-cherez-meksiku-poruchitel-immigracionnye-advokaty-i-shansy-na-poluchenie-politicheskogo-ubezhishha/).
Viktoriya Shelegina, an immigration attorney who works with Russians, says that the current situation reminds her of what happened several years ago when Russians sought to use Guam as a halfway house to asylum in the US. The result was that the visa-free regime that had existed was ended and so was the flow.
She says that she expects “equally radical measures” to be taken by the Biden Administration, something those planning to use this route should consider. Shelegina also reminds them that they will have to show reasonable fear of persecution and may have to wait for years before they will be granted permanent residence and the right to work.
And the lawyer reminds such people not to think that declaring that they “went to a meeting for Navalny” will be sufficient for them to get asylum, however much those who did attend such meetings are now suffering.