The humanitarian group No More Deaths has begun a campaign to halt the deportation of 21 undocumented Mexican immigrants across the Texas and New Mexico borders arguing that they could fall into the hands of the drug cartels that dominate parts of northern Mexico.
The organization said it had received four letters signed by 21 people who are being held at the detention center in Torrance, New Mexico, after they were apprehended crossing the Arizona desert illegally.
The undocumented migrants expressed the fear that they might be kidnapped or murdered if they are deported into the Mexican border states of Chihuahua, Coahuila or Tamaulipas, where - they said - organized crime is more powerful than the authorities.
Chihuahua, one of Mexico's 31 states, accounted for nearly a third of the country's more than 15,000 gangland-related murders last year, while hundreds of slain migrants have been found in mass graves in Tamaulipas.
No More Deaths said in a press release that the group's fear is justified because migrants are frequently the targets of extortion, violence, kidnapping and death threats in the region in question.
As part of its campaign, No More Deaths is asking people to contact the office of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Immigration and Customs Enforcement asking them to halt deportations over the Texas and New Mexico borders.
According to the group, the United States is repatriating an average of 1,000 undocumented immigrants to Mexico each day, something that has resulted in a unique situation of immigrant exploitation that fuels the cartels.
The 21 detained migrants in New Mexico are due to be deported between June 15-17, and they are asking to be repatriated over the Arizona-Sonora border as an alternative.