Mexican Violence Could Flood U.S. with Refugees

Friday, 02 Apr 2010 12:54 PM

By Dan Weil

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The explosion of violence over drugs along the Mexican border not only puts the lives of American citizens at risk, it also raises the specter of an increase in illegal immigration.

Legal immigration will likely increase as well, FoxNews.com reports.

In years past, many Mexicans who wanted to move to the United States were rejected, because Mexico was a peaceful democracy.

But with the escalating drug wars, that’s changing. And along with the legal immigrants, a surge of illegal immigrants might make its way across the border.

For example, Fox reports, last week, at least 30 Mexicans from the besieged town of El Porvenir walked to the border at Fort Hancock, Tex.

Instead of being sent back, as was routine in the past, they were taken to El Paso, and their asylum cases will be considered.

In recent days, conditions in El Porvenir have gotten even worse, Fox reports. So authorities are worried about a surge of refugees from there, who might overwhelm the border at once.

Ira Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is concerned.

"The entire system of political asylum claims was set up for a different era," he told Fox.

"It was to protect people from repressive governments, but now is being used when there is just a general breakdown of order."

A flood of immigrants from Mexico could put an already strained system into gridlock, he says.

“Once an avenue of appeal is opened, then it will become used," he said. And many of those using it won’t be qualified for immigration, he points out.

The immigrants who have come here feel differently, of course.

``I definitely feel safer now,'' Jose Jimenez, a mechanic now working in a U.S. town told The Miami Herald.

``But I'm still nervous. These criminals have resources and contacts everywhere.''

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