Texas public radio features Heidi Cerneka on 'Withholding of Removal' - Maryknoll Lay Missioners
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Heidi Cerneka during an intake interview in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Maryknoll lay missioner Heidi Cerneka, an immigration attorney at Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso, Texas, is featured in a Texas public radio program. The program explains two legal alternatives to an increasingly unobtainable asylum protection that have become more important recently: “Withholding of Removal” and the U.N.’s Convention Against Torture. KERA’s Mallory Falk and Houston Public Media’s Elizabeth Trovall report:

Besides the tougher odds, there’s [a] downside to these other legal protections. Convention Against Torture and withholding of removal aren’t as robust as asylum. These protections don’t provide a path to citizenship or extend to other family members. People can lose their protected status by simply traveling outside of the U.S. or if the government decides that conditions have changed in their home country.

Heidi Cerneka refers to this as a state of “permanent temporariness.”

“If asylum is the gold standard, I think of withholding of removal as the aluminum standard,” Cerneka said, though she noted that many of her clients who received withholding of removal are mostly just relieved that they’re able to stay in the U.S.

Read the full story or listen to the 8:15-minute radio segment at KERA News or at Houston Public Media. Heidi’s segment begins at 4:22.

Watch a video on Heidi’s work as an immigration attorney here.

Maryknoll Lay Missioners
Compelled by faith to engage with people across cultures and ethnicities, Maryknoll lay missioners live, love and work with communities on the margins to promote active nonviolence and healing.