OCTOBER 28, 2011
Overshadowed by the heated issue of illegal immigration is the equally serious national security challenge created by a growing number of Mexicans seeking political asylum in the United States to escape escalating drug-cartel violence in their country.
The movement started in 2006, when Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared war on drug cartels and gangs. Tens of thousands of Mexicans have been killed and heinous acts of violence, such as dismemberments and decapitations, are on the rise. In fact, Mexican drug-cartel violence has reached epic proportions and routinely spills into U.S. border towns. Earlier this year a Texas newspaper reported that more than 13,000 people were murdered across Mexico in 2010 in disturbing and cruel ways not previously seen.
Historically, this sort of widespread violence has led citizens of other nations to look for safety by crossing an international border. Mexico is no exception and a new report, published by the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College, examines the growing movement of Mexicans who are coming to the U.S. fearing cartel violence. These are not illegal immigrants but rather “Narco-refugees” who are fleeing unwillingly.
The effects of such a movement will inevitably have an impact on national security in the U.S. and will further burden public safety and health systems in communities across the nation. The U.S. government should probably start preparing for a new wave of migrants, the probe concludes, because allowing Mexicans to claim asylum could potentially open a flood gate of new arrivals.
The U.S. could be in a tough predicament since denying the claims of asylum seekers and returning them to a country where they likely will get killed, “strikes at the heart of American values of justice and humanitarianism,” the report says. After all, the drug violence in Mexico is so pervasive and cruel that a “unique lexicon” has emerged to describe the crimes, which include carving and cutting up bodies, stuffing them in car trunks and dissolving them in acid to resemble a popular Mexican stew.
Specific crimes and gory anecdotes are included in the 50-page document, which was authored by a U.S. Army War College professor (Paul Rexton Kan) who has conducted extensive research along the U.S.-Mexico border. Kan has also written a number of articles on the intersection of drug trafficking and crime.
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