illegal immigration
The United States government announced that it is increasing its foreign aid budget to deal with the recent surge of illegal immigration, especially of minors. Since October 2013 the U.S. border patrol has reported 52,000 children illegally crossing the Mexican-United States border. The majority of these children come all the way from Central America in an attempt to escape not only poverty, but also violence.

There is often a direct correlation between poverty and violence, as more and more people will turn toward theft and gangs as their  economic situations become desperate. The U.S. government’s USAID program will feed a total of $93 million dollars into Central America to improve citizen security in the countries that result in the highest number of immigrants, these being Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. The money will target crime prevention, youth involvement in gangs and support for local law enforcement. Some of the money will also go toward repatriating Central Americans who are returned to their home countries.

The goal of this increase in foreign aid is to create environments that Central Americans will want to live in instead of run away from. Building secure and prosperous societies that Central Americans can be proud of will result in a lower percentage of the Central American population making the treacherous journey northward.

The increasing number of immigrants is concerning because making it to America is no easy feat. The road is long, hard and dangerous, and many of the children crossing the border are not accompanied by adults. For people to decide that this harrowing experience is worth the risk, conditions in their home countries must be extreme.

However, the especially high number of immigrants is also the result of the “coyotes” who smuggle people into America for a price that is often higher than the immigrants can afford. Many of the recent illegals tell similar stories of coyotes who made promises of U.S. residency due to a new immigration reform. Spokespeople from the White House have stated that this reform does not exist. Coyotes are well known for lying, scamming and taking advantage of desperate travelers. The president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, has expressed enthusiasm in working with the U.S. government to support legal immigration that is safe and orderly, and not the experience that is given by the coyotes.

Opponents of the government’s foreign aid policy in Central America include the police of southern Texas that deal with illegals on a daily basis. They claim they cannot afford the time it will take to see if this new structure works. They fear they are running out of energy and options when it comes to illegal immigrants and the government should take more immediate action.

While President Obama dismissed House Speaker John Boehner’s call to send the National Guard to the border, the Obama Administration is brining in more lawyers and judges to the immigration courts to speed up processes there, as well as an expansion of detention facilities to house the increasing number of immigrants while they await trial.

-Taylor Lovett

Sources: CBS, WBUR
Photo: Flickr