Mexican civil rights attorney Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson had the proper permits to cross the border and was doing so legally at the designated port of entry. But when asked by U.S. border officials why he was crossing so much, De la Rosa mentioned that he was fearful because of the work he did.

Based on his expression of fear for his life, De la Rosa was taken into protective custody by ICE officials. But they did not put him in a comfortable safe house or hotel but rather kept him handcuffed in a prison facility as they awaited a bureaucratic decision over whether to give him political asylum. The fact that De la Rosa, a Mexican citizen, neither requested nor wanted asylum fell on deaf ears.

De la Rosa tells his story now to Latino USA’s Maria Hinojosa.

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