A youth pastor from Honduras who traveled with the migrant caravan last year has won an asylum case after spending over seven months in Mexico awaiting entry into the United States.
Douglas Oviedo won his case on Monday before Judge Rico Bartolomei, with his attorney successfully arguing that the pastor had shown himself to have “lived a life of community work that spanned his time in Honduras” and Mexico, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
This included working with at-risk youth in Honduras and helping to build a shelter for other migrants in Tijuana while waiting for his case to be processed.
“In the final weeks leading up to his final asylum hearing, Douglas worked around the clock to finish the migrant shelter,” reported the Union-Tribune.
Oviedo was granted asylum in part to flee from threats of violence from gangs in Honduras, who targeted him in response to his work among the youth of the Central American nation.
Centro Legal de la Raza, an Oakland, California-based advocacy group that represented Oviedo, took to Facebook on Tuesday to celebrate the decision.
“Thank you to our fabulous Immigration team for scoring a win. Douglas is an amazing individual who has been working to organize and support his community. Working with him to fight his case has been an honor,” stated the group.
Oviedo was in Tijuana during his legal proceedings as part of the government’s Migrant Protection Protocols program, commonly called the “Remain in Mexico” program.
The MPP program was instituted in January by the Department of Homeland Security to place foreign individuals seeking to enter the U.S. in Mexico while their immigration proceedings are ongoing, with Mexico providing them with humanitarian needs.
“MPP will help restore a safe and orderly immigration process, decrease the number of those taking advantage of the immigration system, and the ability of smugglers and traffickers to prey on vulnerable populations, and reduce threats to life, national security, and public safety, while ensuring that vulnerable populations receive the protections they need,” stated DHS earlier this year.
In August, a 30-year-old man from Honduras known only as “Alec” became the first person in the program to be granted asylum.
Like Oviedo, Alec was allowed in for religious reasons, as the Union-Tribune reported that he was an evangelical Christian leader whose life was threatened by the gang MS-13.