World: Cartel violence drives surge of Mexican asylum-seekers to border towns - - PressFrom - US
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World Cartel violence drives surge of Mexican asylum-seekers to border towns

02:15  13 november  2019
02:15  13 november  2019 Source:   sandiegouniontribune.com

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The reporters conducted all interviews with asylum seekers and migrants in Spanish and translated their quotes for this report. As international attention has focused on caravans of Central American migrants arriving at the U.S. border to seek asylum, the exodus of people fleeing the fallout from

An unusual surge of Mexican asylum seekers have arrived at the US border . The heightened violence has already prompted speculation over a wave of new migrants bound for the United "The great new President of Mexico has made this a big issue, but the cartels have become so large and

TIJUANA, Mexico — Only 40 numbers stood between Miguel and his family’s turn to ask for asylum in the United States.

On Thursday October 24, 2019, at the El Chaparral port of entry in Mexico, families wait hoping their number is called. A group of migrants gather everyday in the early morning hoping that their number is called to begin the asylum application process to enter into the U.S.© (Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS) On Thursday October 24, 2019, at the El Chaparral port of entry in Mexico, families wait hoping their number is called. A group of migrants gather everyday in the early morning hoping that their number is called to begin the asylum application process to enter into the U.S.

Fleeing cartel violence in south Mexico, they have been waiting in Tijuana for five months for their chance to cross.

Since Miguel and his family joined the line, thousands more Mexican asylum-seekers have arrived in Tijuana, as violence to the south intensifies.

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NOGALES, Mexico — In their monthlong odyssey taking them from violence -plagued El Salvador to the streets of this Mexican outpost on the Arizona border , the dream of finding protection in the United States somehow kept Carolina Cortez and her two children going.

The surge in Mexican asylum - seekers coincides with a sharp increase in violence across Mexico and bucks the recent trend of steep declines in overall migration from Mexico . Mexico 's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador arrives on July 1 at a rally to celebrate the first anniversary of his

There are now approximately 6,500 to 7,000 Mexicans on the wait list in Tijuana to make an initial asylum claim, according to Al Otro Lado, a binational organization that advocates for immigrants’ rights and provides pro-bono legal services to migrants.

The sudden increase in the numbers of Mexican families trying to seek asylum in the United States is prompting concern from immigration experts in both countries about a new border crisis driven by cartel violence in south Mexico.

The situation threatens to unravel the fragile relations forged between the presidents of the United States and Mexico, and their so-far cooperative approach to immigration enforcement. Both have opposite views on how to best address the driving factor of Mexico’s own northbound immigration.

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Now many are fleeing drug violence and seeking asylum. The reporters conducted all interviews with asylum seekers and migrants in Spanish and translated their quotes for this report. Since fiscal year 2014, the total number of asylum applications has surged —more than tripling.

The Mexican asylum seekers are filling shelters along the border , as they wait their turn to make a claim. Volunteers maintain a list of asylum seekers outside Tijuana's El Chaparral port She worried the cartel would try to recruit her husband to work with them — or face the same fate as his brothers.

Speaking recently at a forum at El Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Tijuana, José Luis Pérez Canchola, from the Academy of Human Rights, cautioned that officials in Baja California needed to prepare to receive large numbers of Mexicans who will be arriving at the northern border after waves of violence in south Mexico.

“And the problem we are also seeing is that now there are also many Mexicans displaced,” said Pérez. “The rights of national and foreign migrants is a constitutional right; (it) is a human right and (it) must be addressed equally to all.”

Tucked away in his bag, Miguel had evidence to help prove his asylum claim: a police report and news articles documenting his kidnapping at the hands of cartel members.

“It’s very ugly in Michoacán. Right now, we have two groups fighting over territory and they only want their enemies to catch a bullet,” said Miguel, who did not want to use his last name for fear of his safety. “If a person or even a small child is in the way, it does not matter,” he said.

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Ruthless cartel violence drives a wave of Mexican asylum seekers . As a result, Olivares Hernández said, people are afraid to cut palm leaves or harvest crops in the mountains and fields that border the community, where Quetzalcoatlán residents believe the armed men came from.

Mexican Asylum Seekers Sleep on the Streets of Juarez. She is one of more than 100 Mexican asylum seekers fleeing brutal violence who have recently been turned back by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to wait in the country

In August, Mexicans reclaimed their place at the top of the list as the largest demographic of unauthorized migration to the United States for the month, surpassing Guatemalans and Hondurans, a border official said.

The sudden rise in Mexican families seeking asylum at the southwestern border is frustrating U.S. federal officials who legally cannot block Mexican nationals with the same strict immigration policies that have kept many Central Americans out of the country, the Post reported.

Overall, for fiscal year 2019, non-Mexicans accounted for 80% of apprehensions, marking the fourth consecutive year in which they outnumbered Mexicans, according to the Pew Research Center. However, the number of Mexican family units apprehended at the southwestern border went up 165% between fiscal year 2018 and fiscal year 2019, CBP data shows.

When migrants arrive at Mexico’s northern border with the United States, they are usually given a number to wait in line in dangerous border cities before they can approach U.S. immigration officials to make an initial asylum claim.

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Mexican asylum seeker Guadalupe Galvez, 27, carries her son Fabian Gonzalez, 1, in an encampment near the About once a week, a commercial bus owned by a local travel agency shuttles people directly to Tijuana and other border towns , offering asylum seekers a “door-to-door package

The most commonly granted asylum petitions from Mexico are based on fear of persecution and violence from drug cartels and drug traffickers based on social group or political opinion. This situation has led to a surge in the number of Mexican asylum applications in the past few years.

The process, called metering, is not supposed to apply to Mexican migrants, because it forces them to wait in the same country they are fleeing. Nevertheless, thousands of Mexicans have been waiting months for processing in about half a dozen border cities, including Tijuana.

A spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union has called metering Mexican asylum-seekers illegal.

“The practice of metering has no basis in U.S. law,” said Shaw Drake, policy council for the ACLU Border Rights Center in El Paso. “By turning away a Mexican you’re sending them back into the arms of the country they are fleeing.”

Miguel thought Oct. 24 might finally be his family’s day to cross, but because each number supposedly represents about 10 people, hundreds are in line ahead of his family.

He said he fled Michoacán with his wife, their 8-month old daughter and their 3-year-old son after criminals stormed the bus he was taking to work. He said the cartel members took everyone hostage, robbed him at gunpoint and held him for days, attempting to extract ransom payments from family members.

“It’s an all-out war there between the different groups,” said Miguel, looking nervously at people standing near him in Tijuana, leaning in to whisper at the mere mention of the word “cartel.”

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Since 2007, the number of Mexican asylum applications adjudicated has increased by nearly 18 times. In 2018, 10,923 Mexicans applications for asylum in The Desert Sun traced the footsteps of Alfredo and his family from Chilapa, to the U.S.- Mexico border , to Oregon to tell the story of what it is like to

WASHINGTON — Long before a surge of migrants from Central America overwhelmed the southwestern border , the Trump administration was But the courts have allowed the Department of Homeland Security to begin ordering asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their cases to proceed

On Oct. 24, Mexican immigration officials called the names of 17 people allowing them to cross into the United States. Of those, 16 were from Mexico and one man was from Cameroon. Miguel and his family were not called, so they returned to the shelter where they have been living in Tijuana, tossing worried glances over their shoulder as they loaded into a church van.

The presidents of both the United States and Mexico were propelled into office on promises of change: Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador promised a softer approach would work in quelling drug cartel violence; while U.S. President Donald Trump’s hard-line stance on immigration swept him into office in 2016.

Trump has threatened tariffs if Mexico does not get more aggressive at stopping the northbound migrant flow from Central American countries, while López Obrador has criticized the U.S. for firearms being trafficked into Mexico contributing to cartel violence.

Mexico’s rising bloodshed pushed López Obrador into office with his promises that “abrazos, no balazos,” or “hugs, not bullets” would end Mexico’s war against drug lords. But the fallout from Mexico’s failed security strategy are some of the very same factors that drove Miguel and his family, and thousands others, to the Mexico’s northern border with the United States in recent months.

“If you want to hug somebody, hug a family member,” scoffed Miguel, about his president’s security strategy. “They don’t want hugs.”

Mexico is on track to have its most violent year on record with an average of about 90 people killed per day. More than 17,000 people were killed during the first half of this year, which is 10% more than the first half of 2018.

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Detentions of asylum seekers and others trying to cross the border from Mexico soared in February to more than 70,000 — and the total number for the fiscal The majority of the migrants were Central American parents with children in tow fleeing violence , poverty and political chaos in their homelands.

Among the most recent litany of terrors from Mexico was Monday’s slaughter of at least nine Americans — including six children — at the hands of cartel gunmen in northern Mexico.

In October, Sinaloa cartel gunmen with automatic weapons went to war with Mexican security forces, torching vehicles and blocking off entrances to the capital city of Culiacán after the arrest of one of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s sons. The violence left at least a dozen people dead. The Mexican federal government was forced to release Ovidio Guzmán to prevent further loss of life.

Just days earlier, a police convoy passing through a small town in Michoacán was ambushed and 14 officers were left dead. The day after that, a gunfight between security forces and armed civilians in Mexico’s southwestern state of Guerrero killed 15 people.

López Obrador has defended his security strategy, explaining “You can’t fight fire with fire.”

Both Trump and López Obrador are authoritative, charismatic leaders with an anti-establishment angle to their politics. Both are adept at riling up their base of supporters, who vehemently defend their respective leaders on social media.

And neither one likes being argued with.

Tuesday, López Obrador swatted down a Trump tweet proposing to use U.S. military forces against Mexican drug cartels to “wipe them off the face of the earth.”

“This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth. We merely await a call from your great new president!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

At his daily morning press conference on Tuesday, López Obrador firmly declined the offer saying “It’s not in agreement with our convictions.”

A seemingly inevitable confrontation between the two has been brewing for weeks.

Until recently, Trump has heaped praise on Mexico’s stepped-up efforts to stop Central American migrants from reaching the U.S. border.

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agreement with Mexico , which would force asylum seekers to file their petitions in Mexico . CITY — As a large caravan of Central American migrants approached the northern border of Mexico last In recent years, violence in Central America has driven tens of thousands of people to migrate to the

But, with his 2020 election hanging in the balance and one of his key agendas — slowing northbound immigration — threatened by new factors like increased violence in Mexico, the U.S. president isn’t likely to ignore it. And when it comes to hardening his strategy for addressing cartel violence, Mexico’s president isn’t likely to budge.

In October, López Obrador criticized comments that a United States state official made to U.S. Congress about Mexico’s security strategy, calling the official’s comments about Mexico “objectionable” and “in poor taste.”

López Obrador said “officials of other countries should not offer opinions about internal issues that only concern our government.”

He was referring to statements made by Rich Glenn, the deputy assistant secretary of state for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs, who spoke to Congress on Oct. 30.

Glenn said the Trump administration does not expect Mexico to make progress in the fight against organized crime unless the highest level of the federal government shows a political commitment to do so. He also said that Mexico needs a comprehensive strategy to fight transnational organized crime and it doesn’t have one.

“Imagine if I were to declare that the United States (security) strategy is bad because they allow, without control, the sale of weapons that are brought into Mexico and cause the death of civilians,” said López Obrador, in response, at his morning daily press conference.

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©2019 The San Diego Union-Tribune

Visit The San Diego Union-Tribune at www.sandiegouniontribune.com

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Trump administration prepares to send asylum seekers to Guatemala .
Trump administration prepares to send asylum seekers to GuatemalaThe program initially will be applied at a U.S. Border Patrol station in El Paso, Texas. The first phase will target adults from Honduras and El Salvador and the aim will be to process them within 72 hours, according to the three officials and notes from a training session of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) asylum officers taken by one of the officials.

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