Venezuelans find US asylum surprisingly elusive

Venezuelans find US asylum surprisingly elusive
This undated photo made available by Hosseph Calderon shows his brother Helegner Tijera Calderon, a Venezuelan army officer who deserted the military and joined the opposition, in Merida, Venezuela. Moreno, fled to the U.S. in search of asylum but was rejected by an immigration judge. He’s being held at an immigration detention facility in New Mexico pending a final removal order or a last-minute reprieve. (Hosseph Calderon via AP)

MIAMI (AP) — One was a Venezuelan army officer who deserted and joined the opposition. The other, a political activist who says he had to flee after pro-government forces attacked his home. They ended up in the U.S., among thousands of their countrymen seeking asylum in what seemed like an obvious place to do so.

But both men have been turned away, learning a hard lesson about the limits of asylum in the U.S. even for people from a collapsing country whose government the Trump administration has condemned.

Helegner Tijera Moreno, the ex-army officer, is being held at an immigration detention facility in New Mexico pending a removal order after a judge rejected his asylum claim. The other man, Marcos Guada, was repatriated to Venezuela in July but fled to the Dominican Republic.