‘Caught in the Crossfire’: Border Town Residents Flee in Droves as Warring Cartels Burn Houses, Battle in the Streets

By Published on November 27, 2023

Families are fleeing a Mexican town along the border with the U.S. due to violent cartel activity, including burning homes and intense battles, according to AZCentral.

Rival cartels began fighting Oct. 21 in Sasabe, Sonora, burning down homes and moving into ones residents left behind, according to AZCentral. Roughly 15 families remain in the town that was once populated by about 2,500 residents, according to Gail Kocourek, education and media coordinator with Tucson Samaritans, who has been helping some of them flee.

Some of the families are now fleeing to the U.S., and a few of them have received humanitarian parole to enter at the port of entry, according to AZCentral.

“They’re caught in the crossfire,” Kocourek said. “It’s getting worse and worse.”

Some residents of the Mexican town have not found it so easy to enter the U.S. at the port of entry, resorting to crossing illegally through holes in the border wall, according to AZCentral.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is “aware” of the situation and says it grants entry to those presenting at ports on a “case-by-case basis,” in a statement to AZCentral.

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“Many residents of this town found haven at the Mexican Immigration Authorities (INM) and Mexican Customs until the violence subsided,” the spokesperson said.

The Tucson Border Patrol temporarily shut down its social media Sunday over the migrant surge.

“At this time, all available personnel are needed to address the unprecedented flow,” John Modlin, chief patrol agent of the Tucson Sector, posted late Sunday. “The social media team will return once the situation permits.”

Border Patrol has recorded record illegal immigration at the southern border in recent years, with more than 2.2 million encounters in fiscal year 2022 and more than 2 million in fiscal year 2023.


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