President Obama on Friday is meeting with the presidents of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to address the surge of unaccompanied children crossing the border.
Just ahead of the president’s visit, the U.S. sent a small delegation to Central America to assess the crisis. Texas Congressman Blake Farenthold was part of the group and told us what he saw.
“In El Salvador we were in armored vehicles. We had a large police presence traveling with us in Honduras,” Rep. Farenthold explained, about his most recent trip to Central America where almost 60,000 children have fled to the United States.
But the Congressman said he still thinks the majority of the children should be sent back, especially those who are fleeing poverty.
“We can’t take all of them. But we’ve got to take the ones that meet our legal requirements for asylum,” he said. “They want the American dream. But once they talk to the immigration activists and lawyers, they lawyer up and go for the claim of asylum, when they’re really more like economic refugees than asylum seekers.”
Almost half of Farenthold’s district is Latino. He doesn’t think the GOP’s position on this issue, which he referred to as ‘compassionate,” will affect them in the 2016 midterm elections. However, he does think the U.S. bears some responsibility for the influx of children.
“The coyotes, who illegally transport these students, are taking our policies here in the United States of not promptly deporting folks who enter unlawfully and twisting that along with the DACA program the president has,” he said.
Credit: Mariana Atencio and Joanna Suarez