Waukegan mother, son seeking US political asylum from Honduras still in limbo

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (WLS) -- An immigration judge in Chicago will soon make a ruling on an 8-year-old Waukegan boy and his mother who are seeking asylum in the United States.

Iker Velasquez was born in Honduras but moved to the states as a toddler with his mother and father who fled their native country in 2014, fearing for their lives.

"I'm anxious but I also have faith," Evelyn Velazquez said.

Evelyn Velazquez and her little boy, Iker, arrived at immigration court Tuesday afternoon full of hope. For nearly six years they've waited to hear their fate on whether a Chicago immigration judge would grant their request for political asylum. Since coming to the U.S., the Velasquez family has been living in Waukegan where Iker is currently enrolled in the second grade.

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That decision was expected to come at the end of Tuesday's trial, but it did not and now the family must wait in limbo a little longer. The judge decided to send it by mail instead, but not before letting Iker speak on his own behalf.

"He was able to tell his story. Why he wants to stay. What he's been doing in Chicago for the past half-decade. Why he doesn't want to return. Why his mother doesn't want to return," immigration attorney Chris Helt said.

It's been so long, the 3-year-old boy who idolized Captain America when he first arrived is now eight. He has a 4-year-old U.S citizen brother now too.

Iker Velasquez

The basis of the family's asylum request is that prior to leaving Honduras, both Evelyn and her ex-husband worked for a political party that is targeted by gangs. They escaped after their boss was murdered.

"To send this child back to the imminent danger that he would live in, and his mother, would be a death sentence," said Julie Contreras with the League of United Latin American Citizens.

The family's attorney said he expects to receive the judge's decision within the next 30 days.
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