‘Asylum Seekers Are Not Criminals’: Roel Campos
Though Roel Campos usually deals with the world of finance, he finds time to assist asylum seekers. He shared his unique perspective on the immigration issue with Al Dia.
Despite describing his legal niche as a "securities regulator specialist,” former Commissioner on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Roel Campos finds time to do pro bono work for asylum seekers.
This work gives him a unique view of our immigration system.
Campos is aso a part of ProBar, he told Al Dia.
"Probar is a group that part of the American Bar Association (ABA) and they’re dedicated — and they fundraise as a non-profit — and they advocate for justice for refugees and immigrants.” Campos said, “More recently, they have concentrated on seeing if they can help in the search to reunite parents and children that were snatched away from parents who were seeking asylum in the US.”
Campos has spent his entire career in securities law, which, on the surface at least, appears to have no application to asylum seekers.
He said this was something he does on a volunteer basis as pro bono work.
His skills apply more esoterically, he said.
“As a lawyer who has been a regulator — I’m the former SEC Commissioner — but I’ve also been a federal prosecutor in my life. So, I have been a heavy-duty litigator, essentially, in terms of prosecuting individuals for violations of federal law and in private practice defending companies and from the actions of the government and individuals. So, I bring the background of litigation,” Campos said, “You need people who can handle themselves in a courtroom, manage a team, which I did.”
Campos said the mainstream media have unfairly labeled those seeking asylum as mostly trying to enter the country unlawfully.
“To seek asylum in the United States is, first of all, in accordance with our laws,” Campos said, “As a country if we have a viewpoint, and a soul, people who are fearing for their life, through fault of their own, should be afforded asylum if they can make that case, and show they’re not here for other reasons. That’s what I want the public to understand. These people have the right to apply.”
President Trump and his allies say that many are manipulating the asylum system but presenting weak cases meant merely to gain them access into the country.
Campos said that not ProBar nor any other respectable non-profit would take such a case.
He said he had seen no evidence that the problem is widespread like the President contends.
One asylum-seeker helped by Campos was “Juan.”
“Juan was a car mechanic in a Central American country. He was a musician on the side. He wrote a ballad, a very heartfelt ballad about the sadness that, um, his countrymen felt, and women, as they left their country to go these extremes of going through Mexico and going to the US.”
Campos said after the song became popular, he was visited by national police.
“He was grabbed and snatched by the national police. He was beaten near to death. He regained consciousness.” Campos said, “He begged for mercy, and he begged for wife and child, and when the captain who had the gun to his head, finally relented.”
Campos said this captain then told Juan to leave or the police would make him go.
“If ever there was a case, this was it,” he said.
When Probar got involved, Juan was in an immigration detention facility, awaiting a hearing.
Probar got him bail and released.
He tried out for a music talent show, won, and with the money can settle his family here while released.
“I believe that this shows that asylum can work justice, and it can benefit our country by bringing in talent and people who can contribute,” Campos said.