Lieutenant Governor reaches out to Russian asylum seekers

Desperate for the U.S. government to hear their pleas, a group of Russian asylum seekers are in front of Adelup holding a hunger strike. (PNC photo)

The plight of Russian asylum seekers has reached Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio’s office and last Friday he and his legal team reached out to the group.

Last week, a group of Russian asylum seekers started a hunger strike in front of Adelup and a spokesperson for the group said it could go on for days until the government responds.

The asylum seekers went to Guam seeking protection because they have suffered persecution (or fear that they will suffer persecution) due to race, religion, membership in a particular social group, or their political opinion.

The group on strike wants to voice their right to move freely within the United States, citing the provisions of the UN international convention on the rights of refugees.

On Monday, the asylum seekers issued an open letter demanding that they be allowed to execute this, pass immigration inspection, and be allowed to board a plane in Hawaii to other destinations in the U.S.

Tenorio heard their concerns. He told K57’s Patti Arroyo that the asylum seekers cannot clear pre-inspection because of their unresolved immigration status that’s been complicated by the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant stance.

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“So I think their issue really is…they kinda feel that they have been forgotten. It is a very unusual situation that they had entered into. .. any of the continental United States and the 50 states … they may be likely able to freely travel throughout the country while they wait for their legal proceedings to be addressed,” Tenorio said.

Since it is now up to the USCIS and the federal government to act on the asylees’ application, Tenorio says that at this point the local government can only bring attention to their plight.

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“The ways we can help really is to try to bring this to the attention of the authorities…try to see whether or not advocates that are living in the states that have access to influence over authorities …just to make sure that these people have their due process ….And in many cases…they could perhaps have their hopes for more support systems in a bigger location somewhere in the continental US and really that is what their plight is,” Tenorio said.

According to one of the asylum seekers, on Sunday, they had to call 911 to seek medical assistance for two of those who were under hunger strike.