by John Lindsay-Poland, Inkstick
February 1, 2024
In recent years, the sharp uptick in the number of migrants arriving at the United States-Mexico border has spurred draconian measures to stop them from entering, yet people continue to make the trek — with little discussion of why. What conversations occur largely focus on economic motives for migration. The reasons people leave their homes and undertake dangerous and expensive journeys toward the US are multiple and complex, but many involve violence from US-sourced guns that makes staying impossible.
A large portion of migrants passing through Mexico and arriving at the US border report encounters with gun violence as a central reason for fleeing. Last year, a University of Colorado study found that 45% of migrants surveyed at the border had been forced by violence to migrate, while nearly half had been threatened with a firearm, and 63% had witnessed armed conflict. These findings are consistent with other studies and surveys of migrants in Mexico, which show armed violence as central to people’s reasons for fleeing their homes.
Photo: Sophia Muller