Updated 04:27 AM EST, Sun, Nov 17, 2019

Immigrants Flee Latin America Due to Increasing Violence

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Just recently, the United Nations released the list of the 50 most violent cities in the world. According to The Daily Mail, 21 of them are from Brazil alone. Another 20 are from Latin America, leaving only nine slots left for the rest of the world.

Among the biggest problems in the South American region include drug trafficking and gang wars, political instability, corruption, and poverty, which explains the high homicide rates in the area.

It comes as no surprise, then, that immigrants are fleeing Latin American countries in vast numbers. NPR noted in October that many people from El Salvador were fleeing to the US due to fear of gang violence, hoping for greener pastures on the northern side of the continent.

Hiram Beltran-Sanchez, lead investigator and assistant professor of community health science at UCLA, said that the immigrant numbers were highly impacted by the homicides in Mexico. Think Progress said that it accounts for the decreasing life expectancy of adult men and women. This could help explain the unprecedented number of Mexicans and other Latin American groups showing up at the US border in 2015.

Forbes noted that Mexico, with 21 of its cities listed as among the most violent, contributes about 28 percent of immigrants in the United States in 2013. Numbers rose in the 1980s and steadily increased with the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The rest of the immigrant numbers are contributed by Asians -- Indians coming in second, closely followed by Chinese and Filipinos as well as Vietnamese. El Salvadorians and Cubans follow, with the Dominican Republic and Guatemala seeing the most number of migrants after Korea.

San Salvador, the capital city of El Salvador, is top three on the list of most violent cities, contributing about 61.21 homicides per 100,000. The situation in the country has become so dire that according many El Salvadorians have actually stopped going to school because of the rampant gang violence in the area, per The Guardian. A 19-year-old girl by the name Celia stopped going to school when two gang members threatened to kill her for entering their turf in San Salvador.

She shared, "I live in an area controlled by the Mara Salvatrucha [gang] but my college is in Barrio-18 area and those gangs are arch rivals. On my way to class I was stopped by two men who asked where I was from. I said I was from their area, but they knew I was lying. They said: 'We don't want to see you here again. This is the first and last time, or we will kill you.'"

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