John Kelly, commander of U.
We Owe Central American Migrants Much More Than This
Yesenia remembers hiding from soldiers during the war. Now she is raising her son in El Salvador on her own while her husband works in the U. Photo by Pat Goudvis. All of this ignores the real reasons families take the desperate measure of leaving home and trying to cross the border. Media coverage focuses on gang violence in Central America, as though it was spontaneous and unrelated to a history of U.
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These eight facts, ignored by the mainstream press and the president, document that culpability and point out the need for change:. There are over 20, Border Patrol Agents ; that number was as low as 9, in Now more than , people spend some time in an immigrant detention center every year. The U. The growing numbers of people in detention—young people as well as families and adults— is being used as a pretext by the anti-immigrant lobby in Washington, including the Tea Party and the Border Patrol itself, for demanding increases in the budget for enforcement.
The Obama administration has given way before this pressure.
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Archbishop Romero was killed in after he spoke out against U. The tide of migration from Central America goes back to wars that the U. Many hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans came to the U. Migration is as much or more a consequence of the increasing economic crisis for rural people in Central America and Mexico, as well as the failure of those economies to produce jobs.
The treaties allowed huge U.
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His bill did not pass, but the U. Embassy in San Salvador admitted that it had intervened.
Photos of the Central American Immigrant Caravan
In , the Honduran army overthrew President Manuel Zelaya after he raised the minimum wage, gave subsidies to small farmers, cut interest rates and instituted free education. The Obama administration gave a de facto approval to the coup regime that followed. If social and political change had taken place in Honduras, we would see far fewer Hondurans trying to come to the U. Over the past two decades, young people from Central America have arrived in L. Prisons became schools for gang recruitment.
Even in El Salvador—where the leftwing FMLN government at least has a commitment to a policy of jobs and economic development to take young people off the street and to provide an alternative to migration—conservative police and military forces continue to support heavy enforcement.
In Guatemala and Honduras, the U. Hypocritically, while punishing deportees and condemning migration, these two governments actually use the migration of people to the U. The separation of families is a cause of much of the current migration of young people. That caravan quickly swelled to approximately 7, Central American immigrants as it passed north through Guatemala. As of today, most of these men, women, and children have just entered Mexico, yet they remain more than a thousand miles south of the U. Below, photographs of the caravan from its first 10 days and some of the difficult paths taken by those involved.
Central American immigrants take part in a caravan heading to the United States on the road linking Ciudad Hidalgo and Tapachula, Mexico, on October 21, On October 16, , Honduran immigrants, some of more than 1, people in a caravan, travel north near Quezaltepeque, Guatemala.
Central Americans seeking path to US have few legal options
Honduran immigrants heading to the United States take a rest at a gas station in Zacapa, Guatemala, on October 16, Honduran immigrants pray in an improvised shelter in Chiquimula, Guatemala, on October 16, On October 17, , a Honduran child, traveling with a caravan of Central American immigrants trying to reach the U. Honduran immigrants cross the Lempa River on the border between Honduras and Guatemala, near Caliente, to enter Guatemala and join a caravan trying to reach the U.
S on October 17, Honduran immigrants hike in the forest after crossing the Lempa River in Guatemala on October 17, Honduran immigrants walking to the U. A Honduran immigrant girl and her family, part of the caravan, travel in a pickup truck in Guatemala City on October 17, A Honduran immigrant headed for the U.
Immigrants broke down the gates at the border crossing and began streaming toward a bridge into Mexico. After arriving at the tall, yellow metal fence, some clambered atop it and on U.
Young men began violently tugging on the barrier and finally succeeded in tearing it down. Honduran immigrants rush through the Guatemala-Mexico international-border bridge after tearing down its gate in Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas state, Mexico, on October 19, Mexican federal police officers try to prevent Honduran immigrants from passing through the Guatemala-Mexico international-border bridge in Ciudad Hidalgo on October 19, Honduran immigrants climb the gate of the Guatemala-Mexico international-border bridge in Ciudad Hidalgo on October 19, A Honduran immigrant protects his child after others, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.