LatinaLista — Yesterday, we received news from the Pew Hispanic Research Center that data, from both sides of the border, show Mexican migration into the United States at a standstill.
However, when it comes to Mexican citizens fleeing their country out of fear of the drug cartel violence and petitioning for asylum on this side of the border, that’s a whole different migration story.
There’s no denying cartel violence in Mexico is fierce, horrific and can be random in nature at times. According to the Fronteras Project, the number of Mexicans asking for political asylum in the U.S. has nearly doubled in the last year. Unfortunately, few are granted it.
In 2011, more than 6,100 people requested asylum. Only 104 were granted.
Yet, that doesn’t keep Mexican citizens from trying. In fact, Mexican citizens, at this point, feel they have nothing more to lose and so they are bringing a new challenge to the United States this spring — a national peace caravan.
Lead by the famed Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, whose own son was murdered by cartel violence a year ago and who started Mexico’s Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, the peace caravan will launch in San Diego in August and will travel through various states on their way to Washington, DC where they will ask that the U.S. government do three things:
1. Build an international movement to end the war for drug prohibition;
2. Stop southbound gun smuggling;
3. Reverse the militarization of North America
Sicilia and other movement leaders see a caravan against the drug war that underscores the role of the United States, as logical extension of the movement’s work in Mexico. Drug war ideology was born in the United States — putting an end to it must start here too.
Currently, Sicilia is traveling to various cities like Los Angeles, El Paso, Chicago and New York City to lay out his case in advance of the peace caravan.
The hope being if the United States adopts the requests of the caravan’s organizers, the exodus of asylum seekers from Mexico will be a thing of the past. After all, as the Pew Hispanic report highlighted:
In 2009 and again in 2011, the Pew Global Attitudes survey asked Mexican adults if they would emigrate to the United States if they had the means and opportunity to do so. The results were similar in both surveys. In 2011, 38% of survey respondents said yes, they would migrate to the U.S., while 61% said no, they would not. In 2009, 33% said yes, they would migrate if they could, while 62% said no.
Clearly, the issue for most Mexicans is not that they want to leave their country as much as they feel forced to flee for their own safety and that of their children.