WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Press Club will hold a press conference Monday, Dec. 11 at 1:00 p.m. regarding the recent detainment of Mexican journalist Emilio Gutierrez by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. The press conference will take place in the club's First Amendment Lounge.
Just two months after appearing at the National Press Club to accept the John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award on behalf of Mexico's besieged journalists, Gutierrez on Thursday found himself on the verge of deportation and, later, removed to a detention facility in the remote west Texas town of Sierra Blanca.
Eduardo Beckett, an attorney representing Gutierrez, said immigration officials in El Paso handcuffed the reporter when he arrived for a scheduled appointment and refused to wait for a response from the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals. The BIA's phone call granting the stay, 10 minutes later, prevented the deportation. Afterwards, however, Beckett was unable to see his client. He said ICE informed him that Gutierrez would be detained — in a facility 90 miles from his attorney's El Paso office.
"I believe it's retaliation," Beckett told the National Press Club.
Officials at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement have told the club they are "researching" the case.
Gutierrez has been living in the United States since 2008, when he and his son fled after reporting he did about alleged abuses of civilians by the Mexican military resulted in threats to his life. He is seeking asylum and has appealed a July decision by immigration Judge Robert Hough denying his request.
International freedom of the press and freedom of speech organizations, including Freedom House, Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists, have concluded that Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. Earlier this week, the United Nations issued a report decrying a "crisis" of safety for the press in Mexico.
Nearly two dozen journalism and immigration rights organizations have signed a National Press Club letter supporting Gutierrez's asylum request.
The National Press Club is one of the world's leading journalism organizations; through its non-profit Journalism Institute, it supports the First Amendment in the United States and freedom of the press worldwide.
Lindsay Underwood, National Press Club, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 662-7561
SOURCE National Press Club