Locals are traveling to Mexico despite warnings

Lauren Romero
Lauren Romero
Mollie Fields, Ministry Program Coordinator of Westminster Presbyterian Church
Mollie Fields, Ministry Program Coordinator of Westminster Presbyterian Church

AMARILLO, TX - The Department of Public Safety has issued travel warnings for American citizens discouraging them not to travel to Mexico during spring break.

According to DPS around 65 Americans were killed last year in Mexico. While more than 30,000 Mexican citizens have died in drug related violence since 2006.

However, despite travel warnings thousands of students and families are expected to travel to Mexico during spring break. In fact a local bus company that travels to Mexico says ticket sales have doubled.

DPS director Steven McCraw released in a statement:

"While drug cartel violence is most severe in northern Mexico, it is prominent in other parts of the country as well. Various crime problems also exist in many popular resort areas, such as Acapulco and Cancun, and crimes against U.S. citizens often go unpunished."

Canyon resident, Lauren Romero, who recently got married will be traveling to Cancun on her honeymoon.

She says traveling to Mexico from Texas is convenient. She's been vacationing in the country for the past six years and stresses it's all about having common sense.

"If you're very particular, we'll go to our resort and we'll stay on our resort except for when we may go to some tourist areas but it'll be transportation from our resort that our resort has OKed and approved" said Lauren Romero.

Some area churches are also planning to go across the border. Westminster Presbyterian Church has taken a spring break trip to Mexico for over ten years. Although they are heeding warnings issued by DPS they say their cause is much greater than their fear.

They're going to build homes for families living in poverty in the border city of Acuña, Mexico.

The families they will be helping live on $50 or less a week. The group will be traveling through an organization called "Casas por Cristo" Spanish for, "Homes for Christ".

According to the ministry program coordinator, there is often a misconception when it comes to traveling to Mexico.

"It's like saying Los Angeles is a dangerous place to go, certainly there are parts of LA I would not go to. But there are other parts I would feel safe going to. Amarillo even has that. It's very sad to me because the need is great. 'Casas' has seen as teams are pulling back and churches have not been sending teams" said Mollie Fields, Ministry Program Coordinator of Westminster Presbyterian Church.

According to Fields they will not be going to public places such as markets or stores because their trip is strictly for work and not for tourism.

Amidst reports of growing violence, Mexico's president aims to position the country among the top five tourist destinations in world. In 2010 Mexico welcomed over 22 million international visitors, not counting the more than six million tourists who arrived by cruise ship.