Exodus along the U.S. border

This is a interesting report, however we like too emphasize that the described circumstances in NO WAY reflect conditions at Baja California or the majority of Mexico! Ciudad Juarez, which lies just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, hit perhaps its lowest point in years of violence when suspected drug gang hitmen burst in on a party of high school students in January and killed 15 people, most of them teenagers. Kidnappings and extortion's are also rampant as drug gangs seek extra income, despite a government security crackdown.
"I fled to El Paso when a gang tried to kidnap me last year," said the head of a cross-border trucking firm who declined to be named for safety reasons. "They came for me but I had a change in my schedule so I wasn't home and they kidnapped my neighbor instead," he added.
Once one of Mexico's fastest growing cities, Ciudad Juarez is now blighted with shuttered restaurants and shops. Garbage and unopened mail gathers around the doorways of empty office buildings and once upscale suburbs are devoid of cars.
About a quarter of homes in the city lie empty as residents escape or new houses are left vacant, according to the municipal planning institute. Wealthy and middle class families are heading to safer Mexican cities like Guadalajara and Monterrey, traumatized by the 4,500 drug murders in Ciudad Juarez since violence exploded in early 2008.
At least 30,000 people have moved to El Paso.
Estimates vary on the size of the exodus but academics and Ciudad Juarez officials put it at between 75,000 and 200,000 people since mid-2008. An economic crisis has also hit the city but violence is the main reason for the exodus, city officials say.
Ciudad Juarez, which boomed in the U.S. Prohibition era of the 1920s and until recently attracted Americans seeking cheap medicine, dental care and tequila, is home to U.S.-run plants producing goods ranging from auto-parts for General Motors to surgical masks for Johnson & Johnson.
The factories, attracted to Mexico by lower labor costs, are operating normally. But some U.S. companies are halting investment in Ciudad Juarez because of the violence, said Carlos Chavira, president of a leading local business group.

red the whole report on Reuters.com here...
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