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What's Really Causing the Border Crisis

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August 1, 2014

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Many U.S. politicians and journalists have blamed a human trafficking law signed under George Bush, offering a trial to Central American minors before deportation, and others have blamed President Obama for not being strong enough defending the border. Christopher Sabatini explores how a lack of social inclusion in the "Northern Triangle" Central American countries has led to the humanitarian crisis, rather than U.S. immigration policy alone.

What's Really Causing the Border Crisis

By Christopher Sabatini

It’s always been a mistake to think about Latin America as if it were a homogeneous region. But at no time have the differences — and their impact on U.S. policy perceptions of its southern neighbors — been more important than now. One need only look at the levels of social inclusion in the region to see both the stark distinctions that exist from the Rio Grande to the Tierra del Fuego, and the reasons for the flood of unaccompanied minors from Central America and Mexico entering the U.S.

When the presidents of El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and the United States convened in Washington in July to discuss the 57,000 unaccompanied children that have crossed the U.S. border in the past year, their final statement mentioned the importance of access to education, jobs and social and economic opportunities in the youth’s home countries. Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina argued in an interview with the Washington Post that if the U.S. were to invest just 10 percent of what it spends on border security in the development of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, it would be more effective in stemming the flow of undocumented immigrants.

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