Driven away by violence, Mexican exiles find new home in US

The borderland has become an oasis for dozens of Mexican exiles escaping the Mexican drug war and violence in search of political asylum.

Mexican journalists, activists and businessman, among others, have opted to leave everything behind, looking for a new beginning.

Dozens of Mexican nationals are pending the approval and review of the political asylum petitions and even though the probability of a successful outcome is low, none of them are giving up.

It’s been more than six years since the Mexican government declared war on the drug cartels.

According to the federal government statistics, an estimated 100,000 were killed from 2006 to 2012, while almost 7,000 died this year.

The list of those who died goes beyond criminals and police officers.

“They called me and said, ‘If you keep reporting this on the radio we’re going to kill all your family,’” said Ricardo Chavez, a journalist.

Chavez was a host for a popular morning radio show in Juarez reporting on homicides and drug related violence. His life changed when two of his nephews were killed.

“It’s very hard because you get used to seeing taped off scenes that have nothing to do with you, but when you know that those who died are related to you, you go into shock,” Chavez said.

Exiles say the journey has not been easy for them.

Statistics show the process of political asylum is slow and harsh.

According to immigration attorney Carlos Spector, most of those who seek asylum are arrested by U.S. immigration customs and held in custody for months.

Out of the hundreds of asylum petitions made each year in the United States, only eight percent are approved.

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