PHOENIX, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- An immigration judge in Arizona will decide the fate of five women and four men brought to the United States illegally as children, their lawyer said.
The group, calling itself the "Dream 9," has been in federal custody since attempting to re-enter the country at Nogales, Ariz., the Los Angeles Times reported.
They voluntarily crossed the border into Mexico to protest of the Obama administration's deportation policies.
Attorney Margo Cowan said immigration asylum officers have determined each of the nine has a credible fear of persecution or torture in their birth country and cannot be immediately removed.
The cases now go to an immigration judge who will decide whether to grant asylum.
An expert on Mexican immigration said the move could "open up a political can of worms."
Carlos Spector, a Texas immigration attorney, said if a judge grants asylum it would probably complicate matters for federal officials, potentially setting a precedent that would inspire other Mexican nationals to make similar asylum claims.