From an article in Borderzine, a student journalism project of the University of Texas at El Paso. The war between the drug cartels has grown so serious that residents are abandoning the city:
According to newspaper records, a historical record was set for monthly and annual homicide totals was in 1995 with 34 victims in the month of August and 294 for the whole year. Fifteen years later, homicide rates have increased nearly ten fold. In 2008, 1,623 murders were recorded, with a much larger number of 2,754 in 2009.
“No longer is the violence in Juarez out of our lives but intricately part of it,” said Diego Acosta, a junior at UTEP.”
“I miss my old life very much, a city one that was once my home. I have built my life here [El Paso], my friends are here, or they come over often, and most importantly I feel safe here; I cannot say the same about Juarez,” lamented Esmeralda Zazueta, a current UTEP sophomore.
Despite the fact she misses Juarez, Zazueta explained that after violent threats to her family, they “panicked, began packing that afternoon, and were living in El Paso within two weeks.”
The violence in Juarez has also affected the housing market. According to Brandi Grissom of The Texas Tribune, Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz reported an estimate of 20,000 homes have been abandoned since 2008, with the estimates of those who fled, and continue leaving the city, ranging from 100,000 to half a million or 38% of the city’s total population.
“While some have fled north to seek safety and prosperity in America, many more have gone back to their homes in southern Mexico,” Reyes Ferriz said.
According to a survey by the Observatorio de Seguridad y Convivencia Ciudadanas, seven out of ten Juarez citizens reported they have modified their everyday lives and routines due to the intolerable fear. This study showed 63% of the Juarez population perceives the city as dangerous and citizens of the downtown area reported feeling more at risk.
When does “illegal immigration” become a “refugee problem?”
(via Latina Lista)