Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, May 7, 2019
In a shocking demonstration of the latest surge of illegal immigrants border officials are struggling with, over 1% of the populations of Guatemala and Honduras have entered the United States since September, according to the Homeland Security Department chief.
Worse, 3% of the population of one Guatemalan county has crossed into the U.S., acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin K. McAleenan told the 49th Washington Conference of the Americas tonight.
“In March, we had over 103,000 irregular arrivals of undocumented migrants — 90% crossing the U.S. border unlawfully and unsafely in the hands of human smugglers. We will see similar numbers in April,” said McAleenan.
He detailed a shift in illegal immigrants coming from Central America, from predominantly Mexican to Guatemalan, Honduran and El Salvadoran.
“These trends are deepening and accelerating. According to a recent USAID funded study conducted by Vanderbilt University’s Latin American Public Opinion Project in Guatemala earlier this year, 1 in 4 Guatemalans have an intention to migrate from Guatemala, with 85% of them expressing the United States as their preferred destination,” he said.
“That’s over 4 million Guatemalans who intend to migrate to the United States. Imagine if almost the entire population of the state of Western United States left the country. What kind of impact would that have on the economy, culture, and identity? What does that mean for future generations?” he added.
But, he added, Washington shares the blame. “The main cause of the current increases is the weakness in the U.S. immigration system, the vulnerabilities of our legal framework, which allow migrants, especially families and unaccompanied children, to stay in the U.S. for months or years, even though the vast majority will not ultimately receive legal status,” he said.