What is driving the wave at the southern border?
“They have experienced six years of continuous drought in these areas,” Gass said. “They have no food, no way to find a job or a livelihood, and they eat the seeds they would normally save for planting. And when the seeds are gone, they don’t have much to do. “
On top of that, the Covid-19 pandemic has devastated the region’s urban and rural communities and made it doubly perilous to undertake a long journey.
Biden said he would seek to remedy the situation by setting up migrant triage centers and shelters in those countries, so migrants can start claiming asylum in the United States rather than reporting to unexpectedly at the southern border. But he has yet to release a comprehensive immigration plan, leaving close observers to speculate on what his overall strategy will emphasize.
Last month, during his first press conference as president, Biden said he had asked Vice President Kamala Harris to examine “the basic reasons why people are leaving Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. in the first place, “listing a few major factors:” It’s because of earthquakes, floods. It is because of the lack of food. It’s because of gang violence. It is because of a whole range of things. “
But as he rolls out the plan, Biden runs into rampant corruption in many national and local governments, which can make it difficult for aid to flow directly, as he has acknowledged.
He recalled the work he had started as vice president under Barack Obama, whose administration faced a surge of migrants on the southern border in 2014 and 2015 that was spurred by a confluence of violence from gangs and natural disasters in the area. “What I was able to do was not to give money to the Head of State, because there are so many corrupt, but I was able to say: ‘OK, we need lighting in the streets to make a difference? I’m going to put the lighting on, ”” he said.
Experts pointed out that while the Obama administration has taken steps to work directly with local governments and establish accountability mechanisms, this approach was still incomplete when Trump became president and rolled back most new reform initiatives. .