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U.S. government sending Mexican asylum seekers back to face cartel justice

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 24th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Mexico has been embroiled in a major civil war which has left entire states controlled by drug cartels. Although the conflict is unrecognized as a civil war, it has still produced hundreds of thousands of refugees which often seek asylum in the United States and are held in legal limbo as authorities decide how best to handle the problem.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Fueled by insatiable demand for drugs from the United States, Mexican drug cartels have flourished and literally taken over entire sections of Mexico, controlling everything and terrorizing the people into submission. Anyone who refuses or resists, or who simply can't participate, is brutally murdered as an example to others.

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This reality has resulted in some nearly 30,000 refugees stuck in detention centers in the United States, all seeking asylum and fearing for their lives if they are turned back.

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It's an ironic twist for a problem uniquely caused by the U.S. If there were no USA, or more specifically, no demand for illicit drugs in the U.S., the cartels wouldn't exist. This reality makes the purchase and consumption of illegal narcotics from Mexico a much more serious offense than many assume. Private drug use is not a victimless crime when the supply chain is taken into account.

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Add to this the fact that some cartel bosses are (allegedly) trained by the CIA, equipped with U.S. arms, and somehow manage to smuggle astounding quantities of drugs into the U.S. through otherwise vigilantly protected borders, and it makes one wonder how involved the U.S. is in creating the problem.

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The problem is among the worst crises the world has ever seen given the sheer brutality and number of the murders in that country and the powerlessness of the government to stop them.

Mexico is overrun by the cartels who act as regional warlords controlling everything that happens in their territories. Government officials answer to the drug lords, or soon find themselves dead. The federal government does little because it too is beset by corruption and intimidation.

This leaves the ordinary Mexican citizen on his own for protection, which comes only in the form of pleasing his cartel overlords. Punishment in that country is swift and violent. People are routinely hanged from bridges and signs, decapitations and shootings are daily events across Mexico. More fortunate victims are only maimed as a living example of what happens when one falls short of expectations.

Somewhere between 70,000 and 100,000 people have been slaughtered by cartel violence since 2006.

Many communities are entirely run by the cartels. However, in some cases locals have formed militias to protect themselves from the roving cartels. If the cartels cannot break the militias by force, they simply blockade the communities leaving people without gasoline, food, and other essentials which are delivered from the outside.

The typical response of most people is to flee at their first opportunity. Thousands reach the U.S. each year and announce they are seeking asylum. They are then ushered into detention centers, jails really, and detained until their cases are heard. About 90 percent of them are turned back where they face punishment if they reappear in their hometowns.

Many are denied their asylum requests on a technicality -they are not being persecuted by their government. Yet activists say the threat is very real and a change must be made to save many of these people from a life of brutality and the likelihood of a horrific fate.

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For now, there seems no hope on the horizon, but we must appreciate that we, in the United States have the power to save these people. By stopping the mass consumption of drugs, by ending the corruption on our side of the border that lets drugs in and send guns and cash back, and by granting asylum to those whose lives are in danger, we can pluck the beam from our own eye to better see the splinter in Mexico's.
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