US Grants Asylum to Mexican Journalist
Jorge Luis Aguirre got death threat in 2008
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 24, 2010 11:28 AM CDT
In this file photo taken Aug. 7, 2010, a journalist protests violence against journalists in Mexico City.   (Marco Ugarte)
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(Newser) – A Mexican journalist who was the target of death threats like those made by drug cartels says he has been granted asylum in the US in a case believed to be the first of its kind since the country's bloody drug war began. Death threats are at the heart of thousands of Mexican asylum requests received each year by the US, which grants only a fraction of the petitions. Even people who cross the border with fresh bullet wounds or whose family members have been tortured by drug gangs can face long odds.

But attorneys say the decision to give safe haven to Jorge Luis Aguirre, editor of the Mexico news site, could open the door for other reporters covering the war. Aguirre fled to El Paso after getting the threat in 2008 and has lived there ever since. At the time of the threat, he was reporting in Ciuidad Juarez, the epicenter of drug-gang violence across the border from El Paso. He told a US Senate committee last year that officials in the state of Chihuahua did not like his criticism of a prosecutor and decided to adopt cartel-style tactics to tone him down.