‘We are a tinderbox’: Political violence is ramping up, experts warn – with the US and Mexico particularly vulnerable – as the border crisis deepens
Migrants fleeing violence across Central America in particular are finding themselves under fire, even in the US state of Texas.
On Saturday, more than 4,600 migrants – many of them children and pregnant women – have been rescued in a single day – the largest single-day human-smuggling attempt so far in the US.
At the same time, US President Donald Trump this week declared that immigrants who illegally cross the border – up to a total of approximately 4,000 a day – are ‘criminals’.
He also said they should be deported or, as is happening in California and Texas, sent back to wait in a country illegally.
The violence in Central America is a sharp increase on the number of deaths and injuries last year.
As of Friday, one US soldier had died in the war in Afghanistan and another 75 US troops had been killed in Iraq.
But there are fears the conflict in the south is intensifying in the coming months in a region where poverty, crime and the war against terrorism have been growing since the 9/11 terror attacks over 13 years ago.
Tensions have risen, with the murder of an American contractor who had worked for the US military in 2017, after reports emerged that he had been shot while sleeping. He is currently in a coma and has multiple skull fractures, a spokesman for the base where he was stationed has said.
The US is increasingly seeing the violence in Central America spilling over into its own borders.
A record number of immigrants are coming to the US each month, according to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
The agency is expecting 1.6 million immigrants to be apprehended by US authorities this fiscal year, according to the most recent figures.
But experts say the influx of illegal immigrants is causing some of the most severe problems in the US. Many of the immigrants are fleeing violence, particularly in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and, to a lesser extent, in Mexico.
And many also come with no documentation – a factor that makes them highly vulnerable if they are apprehended.
But while many immigrants are fleeing violence and poverty – along with drug cartels and gang members, some are forced to make their way to