News / USA

    US Lawmakers Probe Root Causes of Border Crisis

    FILE - Women and their children wait in line to register at the Honduran Center for Returned Migrants after being deported from Mexico, in San Pedro Sula, northern Honduras June 20, 2014.
    FILE - Women and their children wait in line to register at the Honduran Center for Returned Migrants after being deported from Mexico, in San Pedro Sula, northern Honduras June 20, 2014.
    Michael Bowman

    The mass arrival of undocumented children to the U.S. southern border will not end so long as Central America remains a cauldron of violence, poverty, and desperation: that is the message U.S. lawmakers heard from a panel of experts who testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

    Central American parents who send their children on a perilous journey may incorrectly believe that minors have an automatic right to remain in the United States under current law and Obama administration policy, but that false impression is not the primary driver of mass-migration, according to Eric Olson of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Latin American Program.

    “For many, the long odds of coming north are better than the impossible odds of staying," said Olson.

    That is because El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala have some of the highest murder and poverty rates in the world, according to the president of the Inter-American Dialogue, Michael Schifter, who also testified before the Senate panel.

    "Today, more Salvadorans are being killed than during the worst moments of that country's bloody civil war in the 1980s. What these [Central American] countries all share is a crisis derived from weak institutions and governance. The capacity of these governments to protect their citizens and deliver basic services is very limited. Corruption is rampant," said Schifter.

    Shifter adds that any U.S. initiative that fails to reach out to Central America and improve conditions at the community level will not stem the child migration crisis at the border.

    “U.S. assistance should prioritize key institutions, such as the police forces and the courts. This is the best way to advance the rule of law. There is no quick fix. Any serious effort will take a long time," he said.

    Olson noted that, in much of Central America, 50 percent or more of youngsters do not complete secondary education. A dearth of economic prospects in Central America must also be addressed, according to Eric Farnsworth of the Council of the Americas.

    “One critical component of a solution, I believe, is the creation of realistic prospects for economic gain within migrant-sending nations. In other words, good, legal, sustainable jobs offering the prospects for a better life and stability at the local and community level," said Farnsworth.

    While not dismissing desperate conditions in much of Central America, the committee’s top Republican, Senator Tom Coburn, said U.S. policies have helped draw child migrants to the border.

    “When you ask the people who are coming here, when they are intercepted by the Border Patrol, 90 percent think there is a free pass [to enter the United States]," said Coburn.

    But the committee’s chairman, Democrat Tom Carper, says an enforcement-only approach to the border crisis will fail.

    “There are strong and entrenched problems in Central America that are driving so many to make the risky journey north. Unless we take a hard look at those underlying problems, we will keep spending money to treat the heart-breaking symptoms at our borders," said Carper.

    President Barack Obama has requested nearly $4 billion in emergency funds to accommodate and process tens of thousands of child migrants, and to boost federal resources at the border. Some lawmakers want to amend a 2008 law assuring immigration hearings for most arrivals other than Mexicans.

    Legislators of both parties say the border crisis should be addressed before Congress adjourns for its August recess.

     

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.