The Obama administration says it is “abundantly clear” that most of the new immigrants crossing into Texas are fleeing Central American violence. Three out of every four children intercepted since October are from Guatemala, El Salvador or Honduras, said a Border Patrol memo.
The Obama administration claims the illegal children pouring into the US are forced to flee Central America to escape the escalating violence.
The Guatemalan ambassador to the United States says violence back home is not drawing immigrant children to the US.
Disputing the notion that violence is a major reason for the recent surge in the exodus of Guatemalan children to the U.S. border, the Guatemalan ambassador to the United States cited three factors that draw them northward: a desire to be with their parents, a lack of opportunities at home, and the aggressive recruitment of smugglers who guarantee parents that they will receive their children.
Appearing on the Univision Sunday talk show “Al Punto”, Ambassador Julio Ligorria rejected host Jorge Ramos’s suggestion that the children were fleeing increased gang violence. While gang violence may be a major push factor in the flight of children from El Salvador, Ligorria said, Guatemalan children are fleeing primarily from areas in the north of Guatemala, far away from the eastern part of the country where gang violence has been concentrated.
“So violence is not the reason,” Ligorria said. “It’s essentially a matter of lack of opportunities, of trying to reach the American dream, but also to achieve family reunification. Many of the parents of these children are in the United States, and the children go to find them.”