In search of refuge: Mexican refugees and asylum seekers to the U.S. from 1980 to the present

Taylor Kristine Levy, University of Texas at El Paso


An estimated 130,000 Mexicans have been murdered since 2006, with another 27,000 having been officially "disappeared;" approximately 2-3% of the adult Mexican population has been forced to leave their homes due to this violence, many of whom have entered the United States seeking refuge (Molloy, 2013; Olivares, 2012). These refugees have emigrated using a variety of both authorized and unauthorized channels, with a significant (and increasing) number applying for political asylum in the United States (Lyst, 2013). This thesis seeks to provide a historic background and comprehensive analysis of the identity and struggles of the four types of modern Mexican refugees. The U.S. government has a moral and legal obligation to provide refuge to the thousands of Mexicans who have been persecuted and displaced since the beginning of the hyperviolence in 2006. Ultimately, I argue that political bias has caused Mexican asylum seekers to be treated unfairly by the U.S. government despite moral and legal nonrefoulement obligations to protect asylum-seeking migrants from persecution, torture, and death in their countries of origin. My research seeks to address this bias and give voice to the experiences and struggles of the modern Mexican refugee.

Subject Area

Law|Latin American Studies|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Levy, Taylor Kristine, "In search of refuge: Mexican refugees and asylum seekers to the U.S. from 1980 to the present" (2014). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1561069.