CRP Blog

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The United States: A Safety Magnet

As unemployment continues to rise and more businesses are finding themselves on the brink of bankruptcy, many immigration researchers had been predicting that a larger number of Mexicans would return home for the holiday festivities and would decide to stay. The opposite seems to have occurred. Fewer immigrants made the pilgrimage home and more Latinos in Mexico are considering making the trip to the United States-not for jobs, but safety.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has brought a war against the drug cartels which control entire towns, regions, police departments, judicial systems, government offices, small and large businesses, and some members of the military.

Battle for control over trafficking routes to the United States and the Mexican government's war against the warlords in 2008 has marked the bloodiest year for Mexico, with drug-related violence more than doubling from the previous year, from 2,275 deaths in 2007 to 5,207 in 2008. In the border state of Tijuana, killings rose from 337 in 2007 to 843 in 2008.

The threat of kidnappings also keeps many Mexicans in fear of returning to Mexico. These criminals specifically single out people who have family members in the United States, knowing these families have money to pay the ransom.

As the increasing crime rates keep some Mexicans in the United States, many in Mexico continue to flee their home country, the United States may not only be a magnet for economic opportunity, but also safety.

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