Fleeing Drug Violence, Mexicans Pour Into US

James C. McKinley, Jr., New York Times, April 17, 2010

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In El Paso alone, the police estimate that at least 30,000 Mexicans have moved across the border in the past two years because of the violence in Juárez and the river towns to the southeast. So many people have left El Porvenir and nearby Guadalupe Bravos that the two resemble ghost towns, former residents say.

People without access to visas, however, have been seeking asylum, even at the risk of being detained for months. In the early days of the conflict, the asylum-seekers were mostly journalists, police officers and officials who had been threatened by organized crime. But now people with ordinary jobs are showing up at the border and saying they fear for their lives.

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But few Mexicans are granted asylum. Over the last three federal fiscal years, immigration judges heard 9,317 requests across the country, and granted only 183.

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