From the Small Wars Journal:

Drug-cartel violence in Mexico escalated dramatically in 2010, with the violence reaching the highest levels since it broke out in 2006; as many as 15,000 people were killed as a result during the year. In 2010, northern states bordering the United States, where trafficking routes were concentrated, were most affected. While the violence has caused forced displacement, the government has not systematically collected figures to indicate its scale.

In 2010, most IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) originated from the states most affected by violence, Chihuahua and Tamaulipas. Surveys conducted by a research centre in Ciudad Juárez in Chihuahua estimated that around 230,000 people had fled their homes. According to the survey’s findings, roughly half of them had crossed the border into the United States, with an estimated 115,000 people left internally displaced, predominantly in the states of Chihuahua, Durango, Coahuila and Veracruz.

This raises a future political a foreign policy problem:

Since 2006, when Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared war on the drug cartels, there has been a rise in the number of Mexican nationals seeking political asylum in the United States to escape the ongoing drug cartel violence in their home country. Political asylum cases in general are claimed by those who are targeted for their political beliefs or ethnicity in countries that are repressive or are failing. Mexico is neither. Nonetheless, if the health of the Mexican state declines because criminal violence continues, increases, or spreads, U.S. communities will feel an even greater burden on their systems of public safety and public health from “narco-refugees.” Given the ever increasing cruelty of the cartels, the question is whether and how the U.S. Government should begin to prepare for what could be a new wave of migrants coming from Mexico.

Allowing Mexicans to claim asylum could potentially open a flood gate of migrants to the United States during a time when there is a very contentious national debate over U.S. immigration laws pertaining to illegal immigrants. On the other hand, to deny the claims of asylum seekers and return them to Mexico where they might very well be killed, strikes at the heart of American values of justice and humanitarianism.

What is the extent of this displacement?

Census taken in mid-2010 revealed that two-thirds of the homes in Praxedis G. Guerrero, a town east of Ciudad Juarez, have been abandoned, most likely due to the violence created from the wars between the Sinoloa and Juarez cartels in the area.

That’s about 116,000 homes.

Note to policy makers. Let’s crack down on real criminals, the cartels, and not good people who only want to live peaceably, raise their families, and worship freely.

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