Originally published as "Want to Stem the Migration from Central America? There’s a Better Way," Washington Monthly, May 14, 2021.
The surge of migrants continues at America’s southern border. According to recent data, Customs and Border Protection has seen a staggering 71 percent increase in encounters since February alone and the U.N. announced that nearly 300 minors are entering Mexico every day in hopes of reaching the U.S. Many of these migrants make the treacherous journey to the U.S. when they confront violence, corruption, and lack of regular employment in their own country.
Our research has shown that the only sustainable way to fully address this crisis then, is to support and fund programs that address job growth, crime reduction, and corruption in Central America. In fact, Vice President Kamala Harris has an upcoming meeting with Guatemala’s President to discuss solutions to stem the tide, including direct cash payments to Central American countries. But just relying on these kinds of funding mechanisms is in many ways antiquated and not the right path forward.