In a previous post–Ciudad Juárez faces economic fallout from the effects of the war on drugs–we looked at how violence in one border city has adversely affected the local economy, causing many businesses to close. The violence has also resulted in many people migrating away from the city. How many have moved? There is limited evidence to quantify the movement, but one demographer believes 40,000 have fled Ciudad Juárez to the U.S. as a result of drug-war violence since 2008.
Ciudad Juárez is not the only city from which people have moved as a result of the security situation. According to some demographers, the “Mexican exodus” comprises at least 125,000 individuals who have chosen to move away from the border area, and perhaps as many as 200,000. An interesting website–Mexodus– features some quality student journalism that examines some of the personal stories involved.
In its own words, “Mexodus is an unprecedented bilingual student-reporting project that documents the flight of middle class families, professionals and businesses to the U.S. and safer areas of México because of soaring drug cartel violence and widespread petty crime in cities such as Ciudad Juárez.” The project, partly funded by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, involved nearly 100 student journalists from four universities:
- University of Texas El Paso
- California State University Northridge
- Tecnológico de Monterrey in Chihuahua
- Tecnológico de Monterrey in México City
The collaborative nine-month venture resulted in more than 20 short articles, videos and slideshows relating to the on-going exodus of working families from border cities.
What makes the Mexodus project so interesting is that it is based on highly personal stories, ranging from families who paid ransom money to kidnappers to businessmen who chose to flee rather than pay protection money to safeguard their property. Some of the articles focus on the motives and decision-making processes of people who chose to stay rather than leave.
Mexodus is a valuable resource about the effects of drug-war violence on the lives of people in Mexico’s border cities, and on their decision to stay or leave.