By Jim Kouri
During the recent GOP presidential debate, the issue of illegal immigration was front and center with each candidate attempting to sound the toughest on border security and illegal immigration. But according to the blogger for a major Washington, DC, watchdog group, an equally serious national security challenge has been created with a growing number of Mexican nationals 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, according to the blogger for Judicial Watch, a non-partisan group that investigates government and political corruption.
In fact, Mexican drug-cartel violence “has reached epic proportions and routinely spills into U.S. border towns.” Earlier this year the Dallas News reported that more than 13,000 people have been murdered throughout Mexico in 2010. The Judicial Watch blog states the killings are committed in disturbing and cruel ways not previously seen.
For example, in February, the Law Enforcement Examiner reported that the shocking murders of 21 men in Mexico’s famed resort city, Acapulco, were taking their toll on the country’s economy with most foreign visitors fleeing the once peaceful vacation playground.
And it’s not only Americans and Canadians forgoing their Acapulco vacations, but even Mexicans who usually frequent the resort are changing their plans.
The bloodbath involved the bodies of fifteen men who were discovered outside a shopping mall, with 14 of them decapitated. Another six victims were found dead inside a cab nearby, according to a police source.
Handwritten “tags” or signs were discovered at the crime scene suggesting that the killings were part of the ongoing gang war involving the Los Zetas, La Familia and the Sinaloa cartel. The three organized crime gangs implicated in the Acapulco violence are vying for control of Mexico’s illegal drug trade.
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 Judicial Watch blog states.
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.
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.
However, the circumstances of the Mexican asylum seekers is unique, according to a former police commander and military intelligence officer. He argues that the Mexicans claiming asylum are not fleeing a brutal dictatorship nor have they been persecuted because of race, creed or national origin by their duly elected government.
“These people are fleeing — or allegedly fleeing — from gangsters. There is no nation on earth without organized crime although some nations have allowed criminals to gain too much power and wealth. The U.S. is not the policeman of the world. Nor should it be the world’s social worker,” said former police Lieutenant Peter McNulty.