Photo: Judge Rules Only 1 of 2 Sisters Who Fled Guatemala Due to Gang Threats Will be Allowed to Stay in US
A judge has ruled that of the two Guatemalan sisters who fled their native country in fear of being killed gangs, only one will be allowed to stay in the country.
After testifying against a Guatemalan gang in the case of a murdered activist, one of the sisters, Silvia Moreno Garcia, 30, was in such danger that the government put her in the witness protection program and send her to Mexico. However, after reportedly seeing one of the killers on a Mexico City subway she fled Mexico and headed into the U.S. in 2005. She made her way to northern New Jersey where she met up with her sister, Claudia, also in the country illegally.
Shortly after, both women were found by immigration officials and were flagged for deportation.
Since then, they’ve fought to stay in the U.S., saying they feared they would be killed if sent back to Guatemala.
A Newark judge denied both sisters asylum, claiming that their country’s government should be able to protect her from the dangerous Valle del Sol gang Silvia testified against.
The sisters kept fighting though, and Monday, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled Guatemala had failed to protect Silvia once before so she should be allowed to stay. However, Judge Thomas Hardiman stating that since Claudia had limited contact with the gang, she was in far less danger than her sister, and should be sent back.
Claudia’s lawyer argued that Valle del Sol threatened the entire family, so Claudia is no safer.
Still, Hardiman wrote, “Claudia failed to meet her burden of showing it is more likely than not that she will face persecution in Guatemala.”