[NEW] The U.S. Role in the Current Central American Migration Crisis


BY SUE WEISHAR, PH.D. [Fall 2016 JustSouth Qauterly]

After the “surge” in the number of unaccompanied immigrant children and immigrant families crossing the border dominated headlines in the summer of 2014, the Mexican government, at the urging of the United States, began apprehending and deporting more migrants in Mexico and cracking down on the use of Mexican freight trains (la Bestia) as a method of transportation.[1] Although the number of Central American children and families (largely composed of women and children) apprehended at the border dropped precipitously in FY 2015, it began climbing again in FY 2016 (see Table 1) as flexible and opportunistic smuggling rings developed new routes to exploit. More importantly, conditions that cause children and families to flee the Northern Triangle countries (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador) have not improved since 2014; if anything, levels of violence are worse. The murder rate in El Salvador has increased 200 percent since a 2012 truce negotiated between rival gangs began to break down.[2] The Zetas, a violent transnational criminal organization from Mexico, appear to be consolidating control over local police and the military in Guatemala,[5] and four Northern Triangle cities—San Salvador, Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, and Guatemala City—recently were ranked among the top five most murderous metropolises in the world.[6] Family sponsors in Gulf South states have received over a quarter of unaccompanied minor children in FY 2014, FY 2015, and FY 2016 through June 2016. (See Table 2.) [7]



JSRI'S Catholic and Jesuit Perspective on Migration

During the last twenty years, and especially following Hurricane Katrina, there has been a significant increase in the numbers of migrants – both documented and undocumented – in the southern states. More and more immigrants are settling into nontraditional urban and rural receiving communities in the South, where the Hispanic population more than doubled during the 1990’s. The Jesuit Social Research Institute seeks to provide practical, collaborative participatory action research, social analysis, theological reflection, and advocacy related to the issue of migration in the Gulf South in collaboration with Jesuit social and migration networks, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, Catholic diocesan ministries serving immigrants in the Gulf South, and other advocates.  Our Catholic faith is deeply rooted in the experience of migration.  More

On August 5, 2014 the Jesuit Social Research Institute held the Catholic Teach-In on the Child Refugee Crisis and Its Causes. If you were unable to join us please take a look at some of the media coverage this event received. 

TIME Magazine: Michael's Journey
The Times-Picayune: Catholics hear refugees explain why they fled Central America 
The Advocate: N.O. a hub for Honduran children fleeing violence


Archived articles on migration: 

A Lesson in Compassion: Catholic Teach-In on the Child Migrant Crisis and Its Causes -- Weishar 

Kids in Crisis: The surge of unaccompanied immigrant children to the border --Weishar

"We Belong To Each Other": Forgetting Our Oneness at a Town Hall Meeting -- Weishar 

Of Tears and Terror: Families Torn Apart By Community Raids in the New Orleans Area-- Weishar

When Italians Were "Others" --Weishar

Honduran Agony: The Spiral of Violence and Corruption-- Weishar & Baudouin

Keep "Thanks" in Thanksgiving-- Weishar

One Family Under God: Witnessing for Immigration Reform-- Weishar 

Border Visions and Immigration Reform-- Weishar 

Immigration Reform in Retrospect: Lessons Learned, Lives Changed--Weishar

Refining the Numbers: New Estimates of Unauthorized Immigrants in the U.S.--Weishar

Strangers No Longer: Catholic Teachings on Immigration Reform--Weishar

The "Latino Giant” chooses Obama: An analysis of the 2012 Latino vote--Weishar

"Impossible Subjects" with Impossible Choices--Weishar

Hope for Undocumented Youth--Weishar

A Legacy of “Cussedness”: Update on Alabama’s Harsh Immigration Enforcement Laws -- Weishar

Mississippi Rejects Immigration Enforcement Bill--Weishar

Immigration Enforcement Bill Fails to Pass in Mississippi, None Proposed in Louisiana Legislature -- Weishar

Not Good Law or Good Sense: Proposed Mississippi Immigration Legislation Through the Lens of Catholic Social Teaching -- Weishar

So Help Us God: Life, Death, and Voting Rights in the Texas Colonias--Michael Seifert

View all Migration articles »

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