Belarusian migrants seeking asylum at US-Mexico border
A group of 17 migrants from the European country Belarus are along the U.S.-Mexico border after fleeing in response to government crackdowns to protests.
Until now, Belarusians made up only a handful of detentions by U.S. immigration officers.
"From the first evening of the protests, a lot of police and army were on the street, beating people and taking them to jails," one Belarus migrant said.
Some migrants say they're trying to escape the country over the fear of arrest.
"Everyone was afraid," the migrant said. "Because of the logic of why police take you to jail, we couldn't follow any logic. They just find any reason to get rid of people and take them to jail."
Officials say some of the persecuted Belarusians may qualify for asylum in the U.S., but making a claim can be challenging along the southern border.
Data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows in the span of 13 years, from 2007 to 2020, only 12 Belarusian migrants were detained at the southern border.