Emilio Gutierrez Soto fled to the United States a decade ago after articles he wrote alleging corruption in the Mexican military caused his name to land on a hit list.

HOUSTON (AP) — Advocates for a Mexican journalist detained in a remote West Texas facility are asking the U.S. government to grant him asylum instead of deporting him to a country where he believes he’ll be killed.

Emilio Gutierrez Soto fled to the United States a decade ago after articles he wrote alleging corruption in the Mexican military caused his name to land on a hit list. After coming within hours of potential deportation, Gutierrez is appealing the denial of his asylum request while in detention.

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His lawyer, Eduardo Beckett, said Monday that he thinks the U.S. government is trying to push Gutierrez into leaving.

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But Gutierrez says he’s afraid of taking “one step into Mexico.”

Mexico is one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalism, in league with Syria and Iraq.

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