Opinion: Why they migrate

The difficulty with understanding how to tackle the Caravan from Central America and, similarly, the surge of fleeing migrants, lies in the fact that the three countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras have several related but highly specific push factors that differentiate them from each other. Each country’s needs requires a unique approach in terms of foreign intervention or aid. Indigenous and mestizo Guatemalans suffer from ethnic discrimination and a corrupt government, while both El Salvador and Honduras must deal with extreme levels of violence tied to gang activity and drug trafficking, respectively. If the United States is to help stem the flow of migrants from these countries, it must first cooperate with Mexico and other Latin American countries in the hemisphere, and must understand at a more nuanced level which issues need to be addressed with varying levels of urgency in each of these countries.

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