Formal Request for a Congressional Inquiry

Mr. Gustavo De La Rosa Hickerson, the Juarez Ombudsman for the Human Rights Commission of the State of Chihuahua, Mexico, was released at about 4 PM on Wednesday, October 21 from one of DHS’ immigration detention facilities after being detained for six days.

On the evening of October 15, 2009, while attempting to enter the United States with his US Consulate issued Bi-B2 laser visa, Mr. De L Rosa was detained by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents after answering “yes” to a CBP’s question of whether he, Mr. De L Rosa, had reason to fear for his life in Mexico. During the interview with CBP agents, Mr. De L Rosa explained that as the Juarez Ombudsman for the Chihuahua State Human Rights Commission his life had been threatened as a result of his investigations of accusations of human rights violations against the Mexican military. During the interview, Mr. De L Rosa clearly stated that while he did fear for his life, he was not seeking political asylum at this time and instead wanted to continue the ongoing negotiations with Chihuahua state officials in respond to his request for adequate security protection. In spite of Mr. De L Rosa’s clear statement that he was not seeking political asylum, CBP made the decision to detain Mr. De L Rosa.

CBP’s detention of Mr. De L Rosa, a well known and high profile official of a governmental human rights office, raises serious questions and concerns. Why was Mr. De La Rosa detained? On whose authority was Mr. De La Rosa detained? Having made it clear that he was not seeking political asylum, why was this disregarded? If the reason for his detention was for his protection, as CBP has publicly stated, why was the only option considered that of placing Mr. De La Rosa in handcuffs and then locking him up in a detention facility. Finally, were there any political considerations involved in the decision to detain Mr. De La Rosa?

The implications of Mr. De La Rosa’s detention are such that an initial meeting with a staff member of Congressman Silvestre Reyes was held for the purpose of notifying the Congressman’s office that a formal request for a Congressional Inquiry on Mr. De La Rosa’s detention would be forthcoming.

In submitting the formal request, we would like that request to be accompanied with as broad a base of support from organizations and individuals as is possible. If it is possible that someone of Mr. De La Rosa public profile to be dealt with in this manner, what is the reality that non-public persons are dealing with?

This is to let you know that the formal request will be going out via email and on this website in the next day or two and provide you with as much time as possible for you to consider endorsing the request and sign on. It is also being sent with the request that you circulate it among your contacts.

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