Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Nervous parents keep their kids close to home

Jennifer Majalca has been warned about falling for the temptation of quick, easy money offered by drug smugglers. She's heard it from her parents, and from police officers who came to speak to students at Douglas High School. "It's scary. They tell you, 'Don't get involved. Once you get involved, it's either go to jail or lose your life,'" says Jennifer, a 16-year-old sophomore. Mexican drug smugglers often recruit youngsters from Douglas who go dancing or drinking in Agua Prieta, says Jennifer's father, Reynaldo Majalca. That's one big reason, along with the overall increase in violence in Mexico, that Majalca forbids his daughter from going into Agua Prieta alone, even though he grew up there and the family still has relatives there. "When we go (to Mexico), we go in as a family," Reynaldo Majalca says. "And when we go, we're always nervous." Teenagers like Jennifer live in a much different border climate than the one in which their parents grew up in, or even that of teenagers of the 1980s or 1990s. Growing up in the 1960s in Mexico, Reynaldo and his pals hopped over the three strands of barbed-wire at the international line to play baseball, go swimming and ride burros in the U.S. American kids would jump the fence to play in Mexico, too. Now, fearful their children will be approached by smugglers or caught in a gunbattle between warring drug gangs, parents sometimes lock up IDs and passports required to cross the border...more

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