MaN cON­vicTEd iN char­lOTTEs­villE mur­dEr

The Sunday Guardian - - World - REUTERS

Thou­sands of Cen­tral Amer­i­can mi­grants spent weeks trav­el­ing north through Mex­ico in car­a­vans, walk­ing and hitch­ing rides when pos­si­ble, only for many to give up hope and turn back when they met re­sis­tance at the US bor­der.

Oth­ers hopped the bor­der fence, of­ten di­rectly into the hands of im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties on the US side, while still oth­ers dug in at tem­po­rary lodg­ings in Ti­juana for the long process of seek­ing asy­lum from a re­luc­tant US gov­ern­ment.

As rain poured down on a for­mer mu­sic venue in Ti­juana that holds a di­min­ished crowd of 2,500 mi­grants, Jes­sica, 18, grabbed her fever­ish 1-year-old daugh­ter and took her in­side to a friend while she fig­ured out what to do with her bro­ken tent.

Jes­sica had trav­eled from El Sal­vador, and said she and her hus­band were wait­ing in the Bar­retal camp for the right mo­ment to try to cross the bor­der il­le­gally.

“Get­ting asy­lum is re­ally dif­fi­cult,” she said. “They ask you for a lot of ev­i­dence and it’s im­pos­si­ble. It’s not like they say it is.”

Other mi­grants face the same dilemma. Of 6,000 who ar­rived in Ti­juana in the car­a­vans last month, 1,000 have scram­bled over bor­der fences, and most of those were de­tained, the head of Mex­ico’s civil pro­tec­tion agency David Leon told lo­cal me­dia on Wed­nes­day.

A fur­ther 1,000 have ac­cepted vol­un­tary de­por­ta­tion, he said, while oth­ers are liv­ing on the street out­side the mu­nic­i­pal sports cen­ter where they first ar­rived, or in smaller shel­ters. The di­rec­tor of the Bar­retal camp, Mario Medina, said he ex­pected hun­dreds more to ar­rive within days. A white na­tion­al­ist who drove his car into a crowd protest­ing against a white su­prem­a­cist rally in Char­lottes­ville, Vir­ginia, last year, killing one of the coun­ter­demon­stra­tors, was found guilty on Fri­day of first-de­gree mur­der and nine other counts.

The jury de­lib­er­ated for about seven hours be­fore con­vict­ing James Fields, 21, of all charges stem­ming from the deadly at­tack that oc­curred af­ter po­lice had de­clared an un­law­ful assem­bly and cleared a city park of white su­prem­a­cists gath­ered for the “Unite the Right” rally. Fields, who did not take the wit­ness stand to de­fend him­self, faces a max­i­mum penalty of life in prison. The 12 mem­bers of the mostly white jury—seven women and five men—were to re­turn to court on Mon­day for the start of the penalty phase of the trial. De­fense at­tor­neys never dis­puted that Fields was be­hind the wheel of the Dodge Charger that sent bod­ies fly­ing when it crashed into a crowd on 12 Au­gust 2017, killing coun­ter­protester Heather Heyer, 32 and in­jur­ing 19 oth­ers.

In­stead, Fields’ lawyers sug­gested dur­ing the two-week trial that he felt in­tim­i­dated by a hos­tile crowd and acted to pro­tect him­self.

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