July 12, 2008)--Dozens of Mexicans including police officers, business people, at least one prosecutor and a journalist, are asking for political asylum in the U.S. in what The Associated Press reports is a desperate and probably hopeless bid to escape an unprecedented wave of drug-related killings and kidnappings in Mexico.
Under U.S. law, fear of crime is not, in itself, grounds for political asylum.
Customs officials say between October and July, at least 63 people sought political asylum at border crossings in West Texas and New Mexico, which is almost double the 33 claims made for the entire fiscal year that ended in October.
AP reports that elsewhere in South Texas, asylum applications are also up sharply.
In other sectors along the 1,969-mile border, asylum applications are coming in at the usual pace.
Immigration lawyers say they believe most of the asylum claims in the West Texas and New Mexico sector are motivated by a desire to escape the bloodshed in Mexico.
The dangerous situation has drawn almost daily attention just across the Rio Grande in Ciudad Juarez and surrounding Chihuahua State.