Fleeing the Drug War Next Door: Drug-related Violence as a Basis for Refugee Protection for Mexican Asylum-Seekers
California State University, Long Beach, B.A. (2005); Chapman University School of Law, J.D. (2009); Utrecht University School of Law, LL.M. (public international law) (2011); State Bar of California, Member; American Bar Association, Mem- ber.
The death toll in Mexico due to drug-related violence has continued to rise since President Felipe Calderón initiated the Mexican Government's crackdown on drug trafficking organizations in 2006. Pervasive corruption among state and local government officials and alleged human rights violations by the Mexican military have added to the gravity of the endemic drug-related violence in Mexico. In response to the continuous violence in Mexico perpetrated by drug trafficking organiza- tions, a substantial number of Mexican citizens have fled to the United States seeking asylum. Due to the strict requirements for refugee status under international law and asylum protection under U.S. law, individuals seeking protection based on drug-related violence face several legal obstacles. This Article addresses the extent to which drug-related violence may con- stitute a basis for refugee status protection under international refugee law and U.S. asylum law. It seeks to provide insight into the potential viability of claims for refugee status brought by Mexican asylum-seekers fleeing drug-related violence. This Article concludes with a discussion on complementary protection under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment for Mexican asylum-seekers.