“We are calling on those in power to free Gutierrez and his son Oscar from detention and grant them asylum in the US,” said RSF North America Director Margaux Ewen. “They legally came to this country seeking asylum from very real threats to their safety. Their deportation back to Mexico would amount to a death sentence. The country of the First Amendment should be protecting journalists who have risked their lives covering corruption in its southern neighbor, not detaining or expelling them.”
After exposing corruption and abuses by the Mexican military between 2005 and 2008, Gutierrez’ home was raided by dozens of armed men who he believed to be members of the military. The reporter then learned that his name had been placed on a military kill list. Shortly afterwards, Gutierrez and his son fled Mexico for the US in fear for their lives. The two sought political asylum after entering the US and were detained and taken into custody as their asylum process began. After being detained for seven months, father and son were given temporary work permits and settled down in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where they ran a food truck. They regularly checked in with ICE when required.
Eleven journalists were killed in Mexico last year in connection to their work. Mexico, the second deadliest country for media in the world after Syria, ranks 147 out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index. The US ranks 43rd.