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Ethiopian Athletes Likely to Seek Asylum in U.S.


Police reports show at least one of the four Ethiopian athletes who went missing after the World Junior Championships in Eugene last month planned to seek asylum. We checked in with an immigration lawyer to find out their chances of success.

Of the four Ethiopian athletes, three, Dureti Edao and Meaza Kebebe, both 18, and 17 year old Amanuel Abebe were found staying with friends in Beaverton. The fourth, Zeyituna Mohammed, 18, was found in Federal Way, Washington. Mohammed reportedly told police she wants to stay in the U.S.
Raquel Hecht is an immigration lawyer in Eugene. She says to gain asylum in the United States.
Hecht: "You need to show that you have been persecuted or are likely to be persecuted on account of one of the 5 bases to be able to claim asylum, which are political opinion, race, religion, national origin and membership in a social group."
The U.S. State Department's latest report chronicles a deteriorating human rights situation in Ethiopia. The athletes hold visas allowing them to stay temporarily. Hecht speculates that given their young age, the athletes might be able to extend their visas and attend college in the U.S.


Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s former News Director. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000. After reporting for the Northwest News Network and KAZU, Rachael returned to KLCC in 2007 as Morning Edition host and a general assignment reporter covering politics, the environment, education, and the arts. She was hired as KLCC News Director in 2018. Rachael departed KLCC in June, 2022.
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