By Kendra Jackson
Every year for spring break, Mexico is the desired place to be, but for this year, college students are being strongly urged not to go due to the escalating drug violence and the lowered drinking age.
Students are not being told to not go, but are being warned before their arrival. American tourists have not been targeted, but there have been killings in the popular resorts of Cancun and Acapulco.
Approximately more than 100,000 college and high school students travel to Mexico for spring break every year. The U.S. Department of State does not discourage students, but warns them to avoid areas of prostitution and drug dealing.
“After visiting Mexico from last year’s spring break, I highly suggested that students do take precautions and never travel alone, always in groups, anything can happen to you,” stated Mercy College senior Tiffany Frost.
Despite Mexico’s reputation when it comes to violence, it is the most popular place to be. Last year in 2008, Mexico had 23 million foreign tourists, which was an increase of 5.9 percent.
This year, the U.S Department of State launched the “Know Before You Go” message on their website which provides prominent information on various topics such as entry requirements, the Mexican law, alcohol and drugs, safety and security, weapons, and even registering yourself with embassy.
This message breaks down the “do’s and don’ts” when it comes to vacationing in Mexico. It suggests certain tips or routes you may want to take before you consider leaving the country.
“Spring break is the time we all look forward to, but as students we do also need to take responsibility for ourselves when it comes to leaving the country. There is drugs and alcohol abound, and we just need to take precaution before we go,” stated Alyssa Catalano, a Mercy College senior.
Besides colleges and universities, parents are also strongly warning their children before they make any plans for going out of the country.
“My daughter is going to Cancun, and I absolutely don’t want her to go at all. The laws and regulations are different from ours and it’s dangerous over there. I just don’t want the anything to happen to her,” stated Lynette Winters, mother of two.
The U.S. Customs and Border protection along with the federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have also launched an awareness campaign for people traveling to Mexico for spring break.
The campaign includes information on federal and state laws and agency requirements upon their return to the United States. It also includes distribution of flyers telling travelers to carry the proper identification when returning back to the U.S.
According to the U.S Department of State, more than 6,000 people were killed last year due to drug violence, and 1,000 have been killed this year so far.
The Mexican government stated that if you stay clear of drugs and the war over them, then you are not in any real danger. Most of the violence usually stems from criminal on criminal.
“If violence in Mexico is this bad, then I don’t think it’s worth taking the chance on for spring break. There are plenty of other places to visit that are just as fun and less violent,” stated Catalano