Illegal aliens surging north hoping to reach US before Trump takes office
Central American governments are warning that tens of thousands of people are leaving their countries and heading north to the U.S., trying to make it to the border before Donald Trump takes office.
Trump's tough campaign rhetoric sent tremors through the slums of Central America and the close-knit migrant communities in U.S. cities, with many choosing to fast-forward their plans and migrate north before Trump takes office on Jan. 20.
During fiscal year 2016, the United States detained nearly 410,000 people along the southwest border with Mexico, up about a quarter from the previous year. The vast majority hail from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
Since Trump's victory, the number of people flocking north has surged, Central American officials say, contributing to a growing logjam along the southern U.S. border.
"We're worried because we're seeing a rise in the flow of migrants leaving the country, who have been urged to leave by coyotes telling them that they have to reach the United States before Trump takes office," Maria Andrea Matamoros, Honduras' deputy foreign minister, told Reuters, referring to people smugglers.
Carlos Raul Morales, Guatemala's foreign minister, told Reuters people were also leaving Guatemala en masse before Trump becomes president.
"The coyotes are leaving people in debt, and taking their property as payment for the journey," he said in an interview.
Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection opened a temporary holding facility for up to 500 people near the Texan border with Mexico, in what it said was a response to a marked uptick in illegal border crossings.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said earlier this month immigration detention facilities were holding about 10,000 more individuals than usual, after a spike in October of migrants including unaccompanied children, families and asylum seekers.
Unemployed and sick of the lack of opportunities and endemic gang violence that blight his poor neighborhood in the town of San Marcos, south of San Salvador, Carlos Garcia, 25, said he was looking to enter the United States before Trump assumes power.
"There's one thing I'm very clear about," he said. "I want to get out of here."
DHS says there has been a 25% increase in border detainees compared to last year. And it's only going to get worse as the poor, illiterate slum dwellers attempt to cross the border before Donald Trump is inaugurated.
No one feels anything but pity for these people who, more than anything else, are suffering from a dose of bad, corrupt, incompetent government. But few feel pity for Americans who, because these illegal aliens lack any skills to make it in a modern economy, will be forced to bear the cost and suffer the consequences of their presence.
Are we a sovereign nation, or aren't we? Do we have the right to say who can cross our borders, or don't we? These are the fundamental questions to be answered in any debate on immigration – legal or illegal.
Donald Trump has answered those questions, and a lot of people don't like what he's said. As president, he will have the opportunity to put his beliefs into action and re-establish American control over our own borders – just like any other nation on Earth.