But, Spurgin says, "It's the only option we have."
It is certainly the only option for Sarah. When an immigration judge initially denied her asylum claim, her first reaction was to laugh.
Eduardo Beckett, attorney for the El Paso nonprofit Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, is leading the legal battle to help innocent Mexicans caught up in the drug violence gain asylum and protection in the United States.
"It was ridiculous," she says. "Even despite having enormous amounts of proof before their eyes, they still dared to deny it. I could not believe it. Then I became angry, angry that they turned their back on me, because if I go home I will die for certain."
Sarah is in hiding somewhere outside of Texas, but hasn't lost hope. She believes she will win her appeal, and that she will one day see her father alive. Two years after the kidnapping, Sarah still wakes up every morning and searches the Web, looking for even the smallest news story mentioning her father. She feels more secure living in the United States, but says she will never feel completely at ease.
"Even when I see a U.S. policeman, I tremble," she says. "I am always thinking about what happened to my dad and my family. I am always afraid they will find me in the U.S. and kill me."
Sarah says she believes in the United States and its justice system, and hopes the country will legally open its doors to her. She is not a criminal and only wants a peaceful place to live. Sarah says she will "fight and work for her safety and tranquility," for as long as it takes, and will appeal her case to the U.S. Supreme Court, if possible. No matter what, she will not—cannot—return to Mexico.
"I will not hesitate to stay here illegally," she says. "I would rather do that than ever go to Mexico again, even if it means illegal re-entry. It's not that I want to live in the U.S. I never did. But I cannot go back. I do not want to die."