WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
6 Jul 2015 | Commentary | News

Is the Humanitarian Crisis at the U.S. Border Still Ongoing?

Massive Migration Will Continue Until Root Causes Are Addressed

In the July 1 issue of the Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin America Advisor, WOLA Senior Associate for Citizen Security Adriana Beltrán was asked if the humanitarian crisis that began along the border in 2014 had ended. Below is her response:

Is the Child Migration Crisis Still Ongoing?

“In February, the Obama administration requested $1 billion in 2016 assistance to Central America in the wake of the unprecedented wave of unaccompanied migrant children from the region. The proposal would triple foreign aid to Central America and broaden the focus of U.S. assistance beyond security to include funds for economic development, institutional reforms and governance. How much Congress will approve is still unclear. Last month, the House Appropriations Committee approved $296.5 million. The sum represents less than a third of the administration’s request, exclusively funding security-related programs. The Senate Appropriations Committee will debate the aid package next week.

Addressing the underlying factors of migration from the region is going to require significant funding and a comprehensive approach. Although fewer Central American migrants are arriving in the United States, this is largely due to a significant increase in apprehensions by Mexican authorities, which illustrates that the humanitarian crisis is far from over and underscores the urgent need to address the sources of violence and lack of opportunities driving many children and families to flee their homes. This will require investing in community-based violence prevention initiatives, supporting efforts to build effective and accountable criminal justice systems, strengthening democratic institutions and funding programs that improve education and provide training and job opportunities in the communities where migration is most likely. The current political crises in Guatemala and Honduras underscore that tackling the endemic corruption and impunity that have impeded progress in the region must be a central component of an effective strategy.”