The brutal ambush of 9 American Mormons in Mexico is part of a surge of violence that could propel a new crisis at the US border
- Nine members of an American Mormon family were brutally ambushed and killed on a Mexican roadside on Monday.
- It's just the latest Mexican massacre to capture international attention, occurring not long after a botched military raid to capture the son of drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman killed 13 people.
- The heightened violence has already prompted speculation over a wave of new migrants bound for the United States, raising concerns that the next surge of migrants will come from Mexico - not the Central American countries that have been the source of the most recent migration.
- The Washington Post reported last month that a surge in Mexican families and asylum-seekers have arrived at the US border seeking protection, alarming Department of Homeland Security officials.
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Three women and six children who were part of an American Mormon family were brutally slaughtered on a Mexican roadside Monday, in the latest episode of mass violence to strike the country and capture international attention.
Members of the LeBarón family were traveling in multiple different vehicles when gunman attacked, opening fire on some and trapping others in a burning car, according to their relatives. The motive for the killings is unclear, but the family has attributed the attack to organised crime.
The incident was striking not only because it involved American citizens and young children, but that it follows several months of bloodshed across the country - much of it at the hands of drug cartels.
Just last month, a botched military raid to capture the son of drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman killed at least eight people. Earlier in October, 14 police officers were slain in an ambush in the state of Michoacan.
In August, 27 people were killed in Veracruz when assailants doused a strip club with gasoline and set it ablaze, blocking the exits. And that same month, 19 bodies were strung up from a Michoacan overpass or dumped by the roadside.
Organised criminal groups and drug cartels were suspects in each of these recent massacres.
An unusual surge of Mexican asylum-seekers have arrived at the US border
The heightened violence has already prompted speculation over a wave of new migrants bound for the United States, raising concerns that the next surge of migrants at the border will not be comprised of the Central American asylum-seekers that have dominated the border arrests in recent years, but rather Mexicans fleeing bloodshed in their home country.
Though the Trump administration and the Mexican government have been relatively mum on the issue, the Washington Post reported last month that a surge in Mexican families and asylum-seekers have arrived at the US border seeking protection, alarming US Department of Homeland Security officials.
Previously, Mexican migration to the US had hit striking lows, and was replaced in recent years with migrants from Northern Triangle countries plagued by poverty and gang violence: Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
The Post reported that thousands of Mexicans have been waiting in lines at border crossings in the hopes that border officials will allow them to request asylum in the US.
Internal DHS data provided to the Post also revealed that in August, Mexico was the largest source of unauthorised immigrants to the US. That month, Mexicans even eclipsed Guatemalans and Hondurans - who had previously made up the vast majority of border arrests.
Trump offered to 'wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth'
Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of the US Customs and Border Protection agency, told reporters last week that the cartels' increasing sophistication was responsible for the rising trend. He said the groups have begun to focus more on recruiting Mexican migrants while the numbers Central American asylum-seekers continues to dwindle.
"The Mexican cartels … could really teach a business class at Harvard," Morgan said.
The violence shows little sign of stopping. Mexican government statistics show that roughly 34,000 people were murdered last year, and more than 250,000 have been murdered since 2006.
President Donald Trump himself even sought to intervene on Tuesday, tweeting an offer of military support to the Mexican president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
"The great new President of Mexico has made this a big issue, but the cartels have become so large and powerful that you sometimes need an army to defeat an army!" Trump tweeted. "This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth. We merely await a call from your great new president!"
AMLO immediately declined the offer, saying it was "Mexico's job."
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