Mexico to help ‘El Chapo’ family seek US visas

Associated Press
In this Jan. 19, 2017 file photo provided by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman arrives at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., after being extradited to the United States to face drug trafficking charges.

Mexico City – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Friday that he has instructed his government to assist the family of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in seeking humanitarian visas to visit the convicted drug trafficker in the United States.

During a visit last week to Guzman’s hometown of Badiraguato in Sinaloa state, a lawyer passed Lopez Obrador a letter from Guzman’s mother.

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“Like any mother asking me for support for her son,” Lopez Obrador said.

Later in the afternoon, the president published via Twitter Consuelo Loera’s letter in which she asks for his help in obtaining humanitarian visas for herself and two of her daughters.

Lopez Obrador was in Sinaloa last week to announce a highway construction project in the area.

In the letter dated Feb. 14, Loera described herself as “suffering and desperate” and wrote that she had not seen her son in more than five years. She called his extradition illegal and asked that Guzman be brought back to Mexico.

Lopez Obrador said legal questions would have to be dealt with by Mexico’s Interior Ministry, Attorney General’s Office and judiciary.

U.S. support for such a request would be extremely unlikely considering Guzman has escaped from two prisons.

But on the humanitarian front, Lopez Obrador said: “I gave instructions that they facilitate (soliciting the visas) and that the sisters be able to go to the United States and to help them according to the laws, regulations that country has, so that they can visit him or have communication.”

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, such permission, known as humanitarian parole, is reserved for people with a compelling emergency, but anyone can apply. Those who could be considered eligible should have an “emergent humanitarian reason or significant public benefit” to temporarily entering the U.S.

Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Guzman was convicted Feb. 12 in federal court in New York on multiple drug trafficking and conspiracy charges and likely faces a life sentence. On Friday, his defense team said it wanted a new trial based on reports of jury misconduct.