Spanish-language reporter facing deportation gets asylum

Mar 24, 2022, 2:56 PM | Updated: 6:13 pm

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A Spanish-language reporter who had been facing deportation since his arrest while covering an immigration protest in Tennessee has been granted asylum in the U.S., his lawyers said Thursday.

In a phone conversation with The Associated Press, Manuel Duran said an immigration court in Memphis granted him asylum, four years after he was arrested while doing his job for a Spanish language news outlet.

“I’m very happy for this victory after so much time fighting for this case to be resolved. I’m very emotional,” Duran, 46, said in Spanish. “My family is celebrating with me. We didn’t think it would happen because it was a difficult case.”

A native of El Salvador, Manuel Duran had fought for asylum since he was arrested while covering an April 3, 2018, rally protesting immigration policies in Memphis. Protesters had blocked a street in front a downtown courthouse to mark the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King. Jr’s assassination on April 4.

Protest-related charges were subsequently dropped, but Duran was picked up by immigration agents after he was released from jail and detained. Memphis police denied that Duran was targeted because of coverage that had been critical of law enforcement.

Duran had been held in facilities in Louisiana and Alabama until he was was released from an Alabama detention center in July 2019 on a $2,000 bail set by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta had granted Duran an indefinite stay from deportation as his case was argued. The Southern Poverty Law Center and Advocates for Immigrant Rights had helped represent him.

“The positive resolution of my case today is a triumph in the fight to defend the First Amendment,” Duran said in a statement released by the center. “This victory is dedicated to all the journalists being persecuted in this moment, because no journalist should have to fear to do their job.”

Casey Bryant, executive director for Advocates for Immigrant Rights, said the immigration judge in Duran’s case “noted that the First Amendment is one of the most cherished rights of this nation and thanked Manuel for his bravery in daring to report corruption in El Salvador.”

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had said Duran was taken into custody because he had a pending deportation order from 2007 after failing to appear for a court hearing. Duran had said he did not receive a notice to appear in court with a time and date on it. Immigration activists and journalism organizations spoke out against his detention.

The Board of Immigration Appeals had reopened Duran’s case. Lawyers sought asylum, arguing that conditions had worsened for journalists in El Salvador and he could be in danger if he returns. The immigration board acknowledged that conditions for reporters had worsened in Duran’s home country since his initial deportation order.

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, Associated Press Media Editors and other groups had filed amicus briefs on Duran’s behalf, the Southern Poverty Law Center said.

In a statement, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, a Memphis Democrat whose office was in contact with Duran and government officials since he was arrested, praised the court’s decision and Duran’s “commitment to the principles of a free press.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

In this image provided by the U.S. Air Force, Senior Airmen Andrew Whitener and Tyler Glodgett 341s...
Associated Press

Nuclear strike chief seeks cancer review of launch officers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top Air Force general in charge of the nation’s air- and ground-launched nuclear missiles has requested an official investigation into the number of officers who are reporting blood cancer diagnoses after serving at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. The illnesses became publicly known this week after The Associated Press obtained […]
17 hours ago
Associated Press

Amazon axes free grocery delivery on Prime orders under $150

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is axing free grocery delivery for Prime members on orders less than $150. Customers who get their groceries delivered from Amazon Fresh — and pay less than $150 — will be charged between $3.95 and $9.95, depending on the order size, the company said in an email to Prime members […]
17 hours ago
Associated Press

Fitch ups Greece’s rating to a notch below investment grade

NEW YORK (AP) — Credit ratings company Fitch has raised Greece’s credit rating to one notch below investment grade. In a report issued Friday, Fitch estimates that Greece’s deficit will shrink to 1.8% of its gross domestic product in 2024 from an estimated 3.8% last year. “There is some uncertainty around fiscal policies after the […]
17 hours ago
FILE - Retired Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt speaks during an interview in Tokyo, Thursday, Dec. 1, ...
Associated Press

Usain Bolt fires business manager over Jamaica fraud case

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt told reporters Friday that he is baffled over how $12.7 million of his money has gone missing from a local private investment firm that authorities are investigating as part of a massive fraud that began more than a decade ago. Bolt also said he has […]
17 hours ago
This image taken from video provided by the NAOJ & Asahi Shimbun, shows spiral swirling through the...
Associated Press

Camera captures night sky spiral after SpaceX rocket launch

HONOLULU (AP) — A camera atop Hawaii’s tallest mountain has captured what looks like a spiral swirling through the night sky. Researchers believe it shows the aftereffects of a SpaceX rocket launch when the company’s Falcon 9 rocket sent a GPS satellite into orbit. The images were captured on Jan. 18 by a camera at […]
17 hours ago
FILE - In this April 10, 2020, file photo, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum speaks at the state Capito...
Associated Press

North Dakota landowners at odds in carbon pipeline plans

North Dakota landowners testified for and against a carbon capture company’s use of eminent domain Friday, as Summit Carbon Solutions moves forward in constructing a massive underground system of carbon dioxide pipelines spanning 2,000 miles across several states and under hundreds of people’s homes and farms in the Midwest. The proposed $4.5 billion carbon pipeline […]
17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
...
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Spanish-language reporter facing deportation gets asylum