Three Mexican police chiefs have requested political asylum in the U.S. as violence escalates in the Mexican drug wars and spills across the U.S. border.
In the past few months, the police officials have shown up at the U.S. border, fearing for their lives, according to Jayson Ahern, the deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.
“They’re basically abandoned by their police officers or police departments in many cases,” Ahern told AP.
Ahern said the Mexican officials — whom he didn’t name — are being interviewed and their cases are under review for possible asylum.
In the most recent high-level assassination, a top-ranking official on a local Mexican police force was shot more than 50 times and killed. Drug-related violence killed more than 2,500 people last year alone in Mexico.
“It’s almost like a military fight,” Ahern said Tuesday. “I don’t think that generally the American public has any sense of the level of violence that occurs on the border.”
As the cartels fight for territory, this carnage spills over to the U.S., Ahern said — from bullet-ridden people stumbling into U.S. territory, to rounds of ammunition coming across U.S. entry ports.