Youth Gang Recruitment in Mexico
Our research centered on forced gang recruitment in Mexico as a plea for asylum in the United States. I chose to focus Guadalajara, not only because it is the second largest city in Mexico, but because the majority of my family is from this area. Though for tourists violence in Mexico may seem sensationalized, given the numerous reports of assassinations and raving drug cartels, it is truly the civilians who live in Mexico that experience this violence. This summer, I spent a month in Guadalajara , Mexico. A week before my visit I read the local papers to check for general safety; the first link I found marked events that had occurred a week before my visit on June 14th. The title read, “Seven severed heads found on highway near Guadalajara, Mexico.” It dealt with the murder a drug pin’s son. As the journalist, Deborah Hasting asserts “despite assurances from the Mexican government that murder rates are dropping, homicides in Jalisco state increased more than 5 percent during the first five months of 2013” (Hastings, June 2013). Though I never encountered violence firsthand, I was made aware of it by the experiences of my family members. I have an uncle who drives semi-trucks across the country. To him paying a levy to the drug cartels in order to pass a certain highway has become commonplace. For the simulated case, I chose to relate the story of a likely victim of gang recruitment. Here, the chosen defendant is a young man of about 20. As a teen, he who was accosted daily for recruitment by local gangs. Though he had been able to resist their threats, while driving through the border of Zacatecas and Jalisco, he was stopped at a “reten” by a group of men. They demanded money before continuing- a bribe for passing. When he admitted that he did not have money, they took his car. After returning home, his family was threatened. He emigrated to the US the winter of 2011. He now resides in Canton, Ohio.
Legal basis for entry into the US, as a immigrant or visitor?
There exist three categories for legal migration; these include employment sponsorship, family reunification, and humanitarian cases involving refugee and asylum claims. Because of the strict qualifications, the average Mexican escaping violence would have difficulty leaving the country legally. Given the limited resources my client would have, it would be unlikely they would have had an opportunity to come legally through an employment sponsorship that would last more than 3 months. Even if he were to be granted this, three months would not be enough for the gangs to stop threatening him. For a lower skilled worker, there are very little options. The temporary worker visas awarded are seasonal and generally reserved for agricultural workers. Visitor visas would be almost impossible to attain, he would need to show that owns property or ties to Mexico.
Blake comments that “despite growing drug and gang violence in the region, U.S immigration has...