Highest Rated Comments

VoiceofSanDiego80 karma

The biggest misconception is that most of the unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. come through the U.S.-Mexico border. That hasn't been the case for years!
The source of unauthorized immigrants that is growing the fastest today is that of visa overstays. Visa overstays have exceeded people entering the country without inspection for the past seven years. In 2016-2017, visa overstays accounted for 62 percent of undocumented immigrants, while 38 percent had crossed a border illegally. Most of those visa overstays come from China and India, not from Latin America.

VoiceofSanDiego41 karma

I'm doing well. Thanks for asking! Well, we've all heard about the poverty and violence extensively. I definitely heard those a lot. One thing that was interesting that I didn't realize before was that most people in large cities weren't struggling to find jobs, but that many working class jobs just didn't pay enough to keep up with the cost of living. I met many people who had jobs in maquilas, or foreign factories, but would spend up to a third of their paycheck each month just on energy and were still struggling just to buy enough food and take care of their families. For them, even though they had jobs, it made more sense to migrate.

The other thing I hadn't heard very often in the U.S. media was how much the country's problems were tied to the current presidential administration and the party that has been in power since the 2009 coup d'etat in Honduras. But once I learned that history and looked at migration patterns, there was a clear correlation. Since 2009, spending on things like health care and education have gone down significantly (with several corruption scandals where that money has been misspent). You've also seen a dramatic decrease in protections against woman for things like domestic violence and an increase in femicides. The two large caravans in 2018 came after an election in 2017 that is widely believed to be fraudulent and when people protested the outcome, the government violently cracked down killing more than 30 people. When I was there, there were mass protests against the administration over health care and education, but also over corruption. People just have lost hope that there is anyone in that country who will look out for them and they are at the point where they feel that not even their vote matters.

VoiceofSanDiego16 karma

Honestly, what really struck me was how little hope there was. I probably heard, "there's no hope here," from dozens of people in some form or another. I also heard many people say they would rather die on the journey to the U.S., than die in Honduras -- a fate they saw as inevitable. I think many people forget that Central Americans have been risking their lives to come to the U.S. for decades. Sometimes it slows, but when things are bad in their country, they are bad. Immigrants are rational people. If leaving was that much worse than staying in their country, they wouldn't leave. But they make decisions about what is best for them and right now, given the conditions in Honduras, for many that still means leaving.

VoiceofSanDiego16 karma

I think it's important to remember there are different reasons why people migrate. People who qualify for asylum in the U.S. under the law are actually fleeing violence and persecution. You can't get asylum under U.S. law for solely economic reasons. The increase we've been seeing in families at the border is largely asylum-seekers and many of the people not only are struggling economically but are also facing violence: domestic violence, gang violence, state violence. There are of course lots of other variables and every situation is different....it's definitely not easy to make ends meet in the U.S., but sometimes people can find better jobs in other cities or states. And many times, Central Americans coming have family here, so it's sort of a base point where they can get settled to start a new life. I think everyone has to make decisions constantly about what is best for them and their families and for some people, they make the decision to leave their country because that is what makes sense. Other people don't, because it wouldn't make sense for them.

It's been increasingly difficult to seek asylum at a port of entry. The government has implemented a policy called "metering" which limits how many people they take each day and is far lower than the people waiting in Mexico to cross and request asylum. In Tijuana, for example, there is a waiting list of over 9,000 people trying to ask for asylum at a port of entry and they face a months-long wait. Many people, because they fear staying in Tijuana (which has one of the highest murder rates in the world right now!) or because they just don't have the money or resources to continue to wait there, choose to cross illegally, or between ports of entry, so they can just be processed.

VoiceofSanDiego15 karma

I met many people in really dire circumstances -- they could barely make ends meet or were scared for their lives. Having never been in either of those situations myself, it's hard for me to judge whether it's "justifiable" or not, but I heard several times that people felt they were going to be killed soon in Honduras and for them it was better to try to leave for something else -- and even die during the journey -- than stay where they were paralyzed waiting for it and that really struck me.