RSS Feed

Fleeing wrath of vicious cartels, record-breaking numbers of Mexicans seek political asylum in the U.S.

Posted on

October 23, 2013,

Mexicans are running  from drug cartel horrors and seeking asylum in skyrocketing numbers. Refugees  tell the Daily News they ran for their lives for chance at safety in the U.S.,  where more than 23,000 Mexicans fled in the first nine months of 2013.

asylum-22-web
From right to left, the bodies of a pregnant woman, her  19-year-old sister, a college student, a high school teacher and the pregnant  woman’s husband were hung recently from the welcome sign of rural Limon de la  Luna in Michoacan, allegedly by members of the Knights Templar drug cartel,  which controls nearly the entire state by terrorizing residents.

Antonio Chavez decided he just couldn’t take it anymore when enforcers from  the terrifying Knights Templar drug cartel marched yet again into his small  store in central Mexico, where villagers gathered to drink beer and shoot the  breeze, and told him matter-of-factly that if he didn’t pay up, they would make  him disappear.

The narcotics syndicate owns and extorts virtually every facet of life in  the rural town of La Ruana, where Chavez, 47, was threatened with extinction if  he didn’t hand over $150 each month as a “fee” for the music he played via his  cell phone to entertain his regular customers.

He had seen others disappear at the hands of the cartel, whose members are  also known for decapitating perceived enemies and leaving the heads in the  street. He didn’t doubt they’d do something similar to him. His children, U.S.  citizens living in California, said they’d find a way to get him out legally,  but it could take up to 12 months.

“I wasn’t going to survive a year there,” Chavez, a refugee now living in  Los Angeles County, told the Daily News.

So he picked up and ran, becoming one of tens of thousands who have swamped  U.S. border points in record-setting numbers, pleading for asylum in the north  because Mexican cartels have devolved much of the country into rampaging regions  where the possibility of getting shot or worse seems likely as a sunny day.

According to U.S. Department of Homeland Security figures, more than 23,000  Mexicans sought political asylum in the first nine months of this year,  quadruple the number of requests made in 2009. The spiraling number of pleas for  entry is driven by the exponential growth of cartel terrorism against everyday  villagers and townspeople, say immigrants and human rights groups.

A child stands in an impoverished Guerrero state village in Mexico, where residents have fled to the U.S. border, asking for asylum because drug syndicates burned their homes and killed family members to silence them and to force them to pay 'protection' fees.
A child stands in an impoverished  Guerrero state village in Mexico, where residents have fled to the U.S. border,  asking for asylum because drug syndicates burned their homes and killed family  members to silence them and to force them to pay ‘protection’ fees.

Asylum seekers tell of lawlessness that has claimed the lives of  grandmothers, children, aunts, uncles, mothers and fathers. They want refugee  status, they say, because they fear they are next.

Carlos Gutierrez, 35, claimed cartel enforcers for La Linea (The Line)  chopped off his feet in a public park two years ago in the Central Mexican city  of Chihuahua, leaving him for dead in the back of his SUV because he couldn’t  come up with $10,000 a month in “fees” to enforcers aligned with Los Zetas, the  most sadistically violent drug cartel in the country.

RELATED:  BODIES IDENTIFIED FROM MASS GRAVE IN MEXICO CITY

Friends, who could only watch in horror while he was maimed, later rushed  him to a local hospital, where surgeons were forced to amputate his mangled legs  at the knees.

After turning himself in to El Paso border agents in 2011, he now waits for  an asylum hearing in Texas, where he was given a work permit and speaks out  publicly about cartel atrocities in his homeland.

More than 90 percent of Mexican asylum requests are denied by immigration  judges who must adhere to a strict legal standard in a process that may drag out  for months and years. Applicants must show “credible fear” of persecution on the  grounds of race, religion, nationality or membership in a social group.

Protesting at the Mexican Attorney General offices in the nation’s capital, grief-stricken relatives of 12 youths kidnapped from a night club in Mexico City say authorities corrupted by drug syndicates did not stop enforcers from hacking to death and decapitating the victims, whose bodies were found in a pit three months later.
Protesting at the Mexican Attorney  General offices in the nation’s capital, grief-stricken relatives of 12 youths  kidnapped from a night club in Mexico City say authorities corrupted by drug  syndicates did not stop enforcers from hacking to death and decapitating the  victims, whose bodies were found in a pit three months later.

Despite the extremely low percentage of approved asylum petitions, the issue  has nonetheless become part of America’s divisive political discord on  immigration issues.

“It’s another symptom of the dysfunctional immigration system we have,” said  Peter Nunez, a former U.S. Attorney in San Diego and a high-ranking member of  the Treasury Department under President George H.W. Bush.

“These people don’t have a legitimate claim,” he told The News. “They’re not  being persecuted by their government. They should seek the help of authorities  for public safety claims.”

What about claims that the government and law enforcement are corrupted by  powerful, billion-dollar cartels?

“That doesn’t qualify them for refugee status,” Nunez said. “It’s not the  American government’s role to do what the Mexican government cannot do.”

RELATED:  OPEN WARFARE BETWEEN OUTLAWS AND VILLAGERS IN MEXICO

Marisol Valles Garcia, who became  police chief at age 20 of the violent   Mexican town  Praxedis, fled to the U.S. after cartel gunmen shot at her office and threatened to kill her. She is seeking asylum in the U.S.
Marisol Valles Garcia, who became   police chief at age 20 of the violent   Mexican town  Praxedis, fled to the U.S.  after cartel gunmen shot at her office and threatened to kill her. She is  seeking asylum in the U.S.

After requesting asylum, most Mexicans are locked up in federal detention  centers, where they wait for a court hearing in the backlogged system.

Some are held because they have criminal backgrounds ranging from  misdemeanors to felonies. Others have no one to vouch for them in the U.S., and  so remain in custody.

On any given day, there are 31,800 detainees in more than 257 federal  centers across the country, held for a variety of immigration issues, according  to recent figures from the National Immigration Forum, a Washington-based  nonprofit group.

The daily cost of their incarceration is $5 million per day, or about $159  per person, the forum reported.

When it comes to asylum seekers, “there’s no real rhyme or reason as to why  some get locked up and some are let go in the U.S.,” said Texas lawyer Carlos  Spector, who represents Gutierrez and about 100 families asking for safe haven  in America.

Crime syndicates operate with impunity in Mexico, Spector said, because of  endemic cartel corruption in the military and law enforcement agencies ranging  from local cops to federales, the Mexican Federal Police.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent and K-9 security scrutinize the checkpoint in  Falfurrias, Texas. In record-setting numbers, Mexicans running from cartel violence are turning themselves over to U.S. border agents, asking for political asylum.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent  and K-9 security scrutinize the checkpoint in  Falfurrias, Texas. In  record-setting numbers, Mexicans running from cartel violence are turning  themselves over to U.S. border agents, asking for political asylum.

Sonia Montes, 27, is six months pregnant and has four children. She and her  husband fled Michoacan three months ago with their kids. “You can’t live there  anymore. There’s no work, there’s no way to survive,” she told The News from  central California.

The Knights Templar are blockading La Ruana, where civilians rebelled and  took law enforcement into their own hands last year, creating roving militias to  protect themselves.

RELATED:  DRUG CARTELS IN MEXICO HIRE U.S. SOLDIERS AS ASSASSINS

It was an extreme response to an even more extreme reign of terror by  Knights Templar members who recently hung the bodies of a pregnant woman and  three other residents from a welcome sign to the village of Limon de la Luna, a  source in Michoacan told The News. The source provided a photo of the incident,  which happened over the summer.

Homes and cars have been torched to intimidate residents into silence while  the cartel openly engages in drug, weapons and human trafficking.

The pseudo-religious Knights Templar seized control over the past few years  from the La Familia Michocana organization, which ruled the area with a more  benign fist.

To raise money for his legal case and heighten awareness of torture and mayhem by Mexican drug cartels, Carlos Gutierrez plans to ride more than 700 miles later this month. He is seeking asylum in the U.S. after cartel thugs hacked off his feet. He now has prosthetic legs.

Eugenio del Bosque via  Vimeo/pedalingforjustice.org

To raise money for his legal case and  heighten awareness of torture and mayhem by Mexican drug cartels, Carlos  Gutierrez plans to ride more than 700 miles later this month. He is seeking  asylum in the U.S. after cartel thugs hacked off his feet. He now has prosthetic  legs.

“There was always a cartel in the town, but before it was La Familia,” said  Chavez. “They did their work and we did ours.”

Now there is no gasoline and very little food in parts of Michoacan, Montes  said. Her family managed to sneak out of LaRuana and get to U.S. border agents  in Tijuana, across the border from San Diego.

Her two eldest children, ages 11 and 6, are U.S. citizens who were born in  this country when Sonia Montes and Julio Cesar Jacobo were undocumented  immigrants living in California from 2002 to 2007, when they decided to return  to La Ruana.

After the family asked for asylum at the Tijuana border, Immigration and  Customs Enforcement officers released the eldest children to Montes’  sister-in-law, a legal U.S. resident living in the central California city of  Porterville.

The mother and her two youngest, ages 3 and 18 months, were held for two  days in a federal detention center, eventually allowed to leave pending an  asylum hearing scheduled for January.

RELATED:  MEXICAN DRUG LORDS HAVE GRUESOME AND SILLY NICKNAMES

Carlos Gutierrez, 35, was a successful businessman in Mexico who fell behind in “protection” payments to the drug cartel controlling his town. To set an example, enforcers chopped off his feet and left him in the back of his SUV. He awaits an asylum hearing in the U.S.

Eugenio del Bosque via  Vimeo/pedalingforjustice.org

Carlos Gutierrez, 35, was a  successful businessman in Mexico who fell behind in “protection” payments to the  drug cartel controlling his town. To set an example, enforcers chopped off his  feet and left him in the back of his SUV. He awaits an asylum hearing in the  U.S.

But her husband was not allowed to leave. Montes has no idea why. His sister  vouched for him, Montes said, and provided proof of income and her passport.

For some reason, it was not good enough and Jacobo was locked up in a San  Diego detention center, she said. He was told he must post a $10,000 bond to  gain release, money the family does not have. His other options were to remain  imprisoned or return to La Ruana.

He chose the latter, and boarded a bus last week for the three-day  journey.

She had been terrified, she said, that her husband would be killed by  Knights Templar assassins who control the roads, setting up checkpoints and  demanding identification from travelers.

They have been known to shoot on sight residents from towns such as La  Ruana, where self-defense groups flourish.

But Jacobo arrived without incident, and called his wife to say he was  safely home.

For now.

She doesn’t know what she and her husband will do. She is rarely at  ease.

“Even here I’m afraid,” Montes said from California. “I am never, ever  without fear now.”

 

 Click  here to watch the first video, and here  for the second.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/mexicans-fleeing-drug-cartel-mayhem-seek-ing-u-s-asylum-record-breaking-numbers-article-1.1493183

About Doc

Spreading the word about the dangers of methamphetamine.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: