A new breed of would-be refugees — business owners, law enforcement officers, journalists, and other professionals — on the run from Mexico’s vicious drug wars. Increasingly, are seeking safe haven in the U.S. by filing for asylum, reports the Los Angeles Times. The number of asylum requests filed at U.S. borders by Mexican nationals nearly doubled to almost 200 in the last fiscal year, and the pace has increased this year. Seventy Mexican asylum-seekers filed petitions in the first quarter. The figures are small compared with the vast scale of illegal immigration, but many fear explosive growth if the bloodshed worsens.
Drug violence in Mexico has claimed at least 7,000 lives in little more than a year, most of them along the border and many carried out to maximize their gruesome effect. Mass killings and beheadings have had a terrorizing effect on border towns from Texas to Tijuana.