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tv   Central American Migration Discussion at Migration Policy Institute...  CSPAN  November 22, 2019 1:54pm-3:17pm EST

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the life and work of laura ingals wilder. >> when mary nearly died and became blind, laura was then, you know, really kind of forced into this role that she had never contemplated for herself, which was to become a teacher. >> at 8:00 on the presidency, we look at pulitzer prize winner cartoonist pat olyphant, with cartoons of bush to obama. university of virginia just acquired his collection. explore the nation's past on american history tv every weekend on c-span3. this day long conference on immigration and migration issues at the u.s. southern border continues now with a look at why so many mie gragrants from cent america are heading to the u.s., and what can be done regionally
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to help these communities. this is an hour 20 minutes. >> is this on? can you hear me? excellent. welcome back. while you're all walking in and settling down -- thank you. i just wanted to say a couple words about what we do here at georgetown in this field before i welcome my panel and introduce everybody. i'm andy. i direct the asylum films here. we represent asylum seekers in deportation hearings. actually handle a case from beginning to end for asylum seekers all over the world. my colleague is here, as well, who i work with. dina, is dina here? may be at some point. we have three lauries each semester and 12 students. the clinic has been doing this for, i guess, 24 years. i think phil started the asylum
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part of this in 1995. we also have courses on immigration and refugee law as well as we started last year to send volunteers to texas, to the two major detention facilities that are housing women with children, detaining women and children, to help prepare the women for credible fear interviews and to do other work to assist the families. we're sending two groups again, 14 volunteers over winter break and spring break down there, thanks to a georgetown alum who has funded that travel. and we have a human rights institute fact-finding practicum that has engaged on these issues for years. this year is looking at the root causes of international migration in our hemisphere in particular and is examining one of the major issues of the
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third-country issue. which brings us to our panel. because we thought it would be a good opportunity to hear from these experts with respect to the humanitarian and migration crisis that has been going on in central america and the need for regional approaches. we have three experts who will give us different analyses to help address different parts of this problem. that is, i've asked anthony fontez, a professor at american university and expert in human security in central america, to talk to us about those challenging issues. what is the human insecurity situation? what are the challenges in trying to address it?
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there have been some attempts, not major attempts, but he is the expert so i'll let him talk about those things. i think our community would benefit from understanding more about how to address what's going on in the region, in these countries in particular. then, fortunately, we also have marie meyer, who is the director for mexico and migrant rights at the washington office for latin america. she has been laboring for many years in -- with focusing on these -- this protection system in mexico to the extent it exists. she will talk to us about precisely what that's like. you heard this morning that because of the new transit of the third policy that the trump administration has put out more recently, to try to deter asylum seekers from coming to the united states, the policy is that people in transit are --
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now have to apply for asylum on their way. that's what the goal of that is. we'll hear about how -- what that really means in a country which has a -- well, we'll hear from the expert about that. i won't say more. finally, fortunately, we have kiara, who is the deputy regional representative for the u.s. and the caribbean at the u.s. high commissioner for refugees office. she will be talking about the regional approach, the approaches, i should say, that would really benefit the abilities of our entire international community to protect refugees who are fleeing from very serious harm. both in terms of refugee convention and the carta declaration, which extends protection to refugees who are fleeing from serious violence,
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civil war, et cetera. this is a regional crisis. there are central american countries that have received many refugees, as well, and who are trying to -- or could use some help in addressing those needs. so thank you very much, everybody, for coming. we will have some time for, of course, q&a. so let us begin with professor fontez, who will talk to us about the human security situation in the countries that he's particularly focused on in central america. thank you for being here. >> thank you, andrew. thank you very much. thanks so much for putting on this amazing venue. i think it is one of the most important conversations that could be happening in america right now. so i'll start with a little story. in july 2016, i spoke with a 20-year-old gauatemalan man traveling through mexico, looking to cross into the united states. he said, my country is lickke a
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cage with no way out. we were waiting with dozens of other central americans to hop a northbound freight train. we all know the journey is dangerous, he continued. we fight fail. we might die. but at least there is hope at the end of it. in the time i have here, i'll try to give an overview of of the forces that made wilmer feel trapped and hopeless in native lands, and what might be done to resolve some of these issues. although, in my initial talk, i'll probably talk about the challenges and then get to some of those solutions in the q&a. all right. so i'm going to focus on the making of the central american cage, to push the metaphor, to understand the complex play between poverty, violence, that drive out mie dpragration from region. i'm photographer by training, focusing on everyday experience of p and i'm going to try to link my
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work to the processes that describe immigration the last decades. the evolution of violence and insecurity. the persistence of poverty in the region. and how poverty and insecurity entwine in myriad ways in pushing individual cases about migration and trends in general. so the first thing to understand about the region is that northern triangle has long been a place where globally circulating violence and insecurity seem to become distilled and erupt with terrifying intensity. what is now known as the old violence among people studying the northern triangle, at the height of the cold war, overarmed military governments insalvador, trained and funded by the united states, performed mass tr travesties against the community. these became because elites
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refused to allow poor citizenry to engage in the basic activities, from elections, forming unions, or learning to read. rather than heed the calls for fair division of economic and political communities come frin from a diverse range of voices, the military in the '70s and '80s resorted to scorched earth campaigns, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives. the bloodiest is guatemala, where i have done most of my work. this drove the first massive waves of refugees out of the region seeking refuge in mexico and the united states. those who very engaged in this a long time can think of parallels and echoes from that time with the situation that central americans face now. although now, the kinds of violence that are taking place are very, very different. since the end of the cold war, the rise of what scholars call the new violence, has really hit hard in the northern triangle,
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honduras, guatemala, and el salvador. the rise of democracy has been accompanied by the rise of criminal chaos, in the words -- as described by many observers in the region. this new violence is difficult to pick apart. legacies of armed conflicts are very important. they haunt the post cold war order. armed conflict didn't bring peace as we'd imagine. in the '90s, the triangle saw a rise in sudden violence, concentrated in urban centers, guatemala city, salvador, et cetera. this new violence, in many ways, is harder to diagnosis than was the old. government officials and outside observers gauge it through homicide counts, right? through the 21st century, guatemala, el solalvador, and honduras has the highest percentage, coming in the top five consistently until the last few years where things have
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gotten moderately better, at least in the counting op dead bodies. but in a sense, here's 2018 homicide map of guatemala. you see the concentration of the highest murder rates in border regions. i'll talk about that in a second. that is thought to have much to do with the drug trade and the competition between different organizations for control of lucrative border crossings. el salvador was primarily affected by gang-related violence. although, again, gangs themselves are not as clear cut as the media and many outside observers and law enforcement would have them be. violence is more equally spread through the country. honduras is, in many ways, sort of in between guatemala and el salvador in terms of who is driving the violence. gang violence in urban centers as well as along major drug trafficking corridors in the northern and western parts of the country.
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so homicide counts all well and good as a way of gauging what's happening in terms of violence, but in a sense, the body counts obscure more than they reveal. as hard and fast as numbers may see seem, what makes the violence so terrifying to so many is profound uncertainty. across the region, less than 5% of violent crimes ever make it to trial. making the northern triangle a great place to commit murder, to paraphrase a u.n. observation. forces of order and disorder make distorted reflections of each other. at best, the law appears helpless. at worst, complicit, making the usual suspects in every murder, extortion, kidnapping, robbery, long and badly defined. police change places with the kidnapping rings, gangs, so on, they're supposed to bring to justice. what is more a massacre, torture, dismemberment and other spectacular forms of violence that are literally made for
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media consumption, make murder register far and wide beyond its particular local. so the cacophony of reaction, politicians grandstanding, the rumors coursing through violence-stricken communities warps the fear of the violence and insecurity into every realm of public life. so this uncertainty, the general sense no one is to be trusted, i think, explains why, for example, even as homicide rates across the region have apparently dropped, especially if you check out this image up here in honduras, which is essentially cut in half the number of people murdered per 100,000 per year between 2013 and 2018. the fact is, generally, levels of fear, paranoia, and pervasive insecurity remain very, very high. in fact, almost untouched. the general population has no trust that their governments can effectively combat crime, much less count the dead.
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and understand the state in its under world co-exist in relationships with each other. there is a sense state agents are a key player in the reproduction of crime and imp n impuni impunity, as they are with estimates of the percentage of police and organized crime ranging between 30% and 60% of the total. this makes for a particularly volatile and powerful violent actor ecosystem. those at the top are widely considered to be drug trafficking organizations, right? this is a map of -- from 2016. i couldn't find one from more recently that was as telling. things haven't changed much. an estimation of the number of non-commercial boating incidents connecting the southern cone to the northern triangle -- and it is a way of measuring the amount of cocaine going through the
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region. so the impunity that criminal actors, especially drug trafficking organizations, enjoy is truly awe-inspiring. the drug traffickers are probably at the height, the very top end of the violent actor food chain in this part of the world. the last 30 years, the u.s. war on drugs pushed the flow of cocaine and list of other commodities through honduras and guatemala, away from the caribbean and, since 2006, out of mexico and into primarily honduras and guatemala. it is believed upwards of 90% of the cocaine consumed by the so-called insashable north american nose comes through these territories. the profits and power of drug trafficking circulate at every level of state power. this image is drown from my friend steven dudley at insight crime, latin american studies at latin university. it details the connections
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between one of the lead narco traffickers until his capture five, six years ago in the western part of kwaut ma la. it details the level of his interaction and involvement and filtration of the various levels of government, civil society, evangelical churches, as well as local politics and local businesses. another example, this is the cachiros, one of the major organizations in honduras, also captured and the leaders extradited. the kingpin strategy doesn't work. we can talk more about that if we want to. it only leads to more violence and competition between the surviving groups that are still there. this is a multi-billion dollar industry. taking out the leaders only makes the underlings more ambitio ambitious. this details the circulation of power and influence between drug trafficking organizations and the powers that be in those
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particular countries. particularly, an example of this is one orlando hernandez, the president of whonduras. u.s. partner and the signing of a ridiculous third-county agreement, which my colleague will talk about. also, his brother is facing trial in new york for involvement in narco trafficking. this is talk that one of orlando's -- or as known this honduras, ho has received money from traffickers dealing with his brother, allegedly. all right. the other sort of most -- well, one of the most visible violent actors in central america are, of course, gangs. this is probably an image that many of you have seen. this is since the early '90s. transnational gangs, ms-13, 18th street, sort of the face of crime in the region. for those of you who don't know,
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they're born out of circular migration between the u.s. and central america through the '70s and '90s. ms-13 morphed into extortion machines in central america, especially in honduras. ms-13 has evolved to become an important player in urban drug market distribution. some people say taking the place of the drug trafficking organizations that were taken out by usdea efforts and subsumed a higher level of involvement in transnational traffic of cocaine. so gangs like ms-13 are an urban phenomenon. part of my work, and much of my work has been involved in tracing the evolution of gangs, but really understanding the evolution of gangs is understanding violence in society, and it's been to try to get beneath the spectacular image of the tattoo gang member residing behind bars. by and large, it is a much smaller part of the gang
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population today than it has been because of increased enforcement against people who have face tattoos and so on and so forth. these days, important thing to understand for asylum cases, as well, is gangs are embedded in the communities over which they rule. you can't pull apart the police, the local community, and the operation of the gangs, which is one of the reasons it makes it a terrifying phenomenon. literally, it's neighboring fighting and killing their neighbors. this is affiliates of a gang extortion network. some 36 people indicted. these are mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives of incarcerated gang members involved in extortion network. another gang member, member of ms-13, in a guatemalan prison. another young man, 19 at the time, striking to me about this picture is, you know, he has the prototypical gang tattooed face, but he has the image of himself he painted with his 4-year-old daughter in visiting quarters in
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prison. so these gangs have become the very face of crime, as i said. they're important criminal actors ordering life in the area they control, but they're also a smoke screen. important to remember. a specter invoked over and over by political actors to distract the populus, to distract outside observers from a host of structural factors that feed out of control insecurity. now, there is a tendency also to call the violence non-state violence. it is a dangerous misnomer. even non-political violence. it is a mistake to imagine the state, guatemala, honduras, el salvador, as having no part in the violence today. whether it is through weakness or complicity, the state feeds off the impunity that drives out migration. there's literally almost no way to draw the state apart from the criminal underworld upon which
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it rests. all right. now poverty. poverty in the region remains as pressing, if not quite as widespread, as it was in the 1970s and '80s when, as i said before, massive social movements for workers and subsfarmers dro- there are no formal market jobs. 2018, more than 300,000 central americans joined a labor pool while there are less than 4,000 jobs created by the formal economy. these are concentrated almost entirely in urban areas. so that relegates the vast, vast majority of central americans, especially rural central americans, as scraping by in the informal market. the economies themselves depend upon export of a few commodities. primarily u.s. markets. they employ a tiny fraction of the work force. talking sugar cane, tequilas,
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manufactured goods. one riseing export industry is business es employing the call center employees because of the accented english. always an opportunity, right? right. this general reliance on a few commodities meant for exports to primarily u.s. markets created society split between an extremely small and extremely rich elite group at the top, and masses of poor at the bottom, with a tiny sliver of a fairly desperate middle class clinging to the middle. overall, inequality in the region is stunning and appears to be worsening. so one important pressure valve has always been for the last 30 years or so, and growing in importance, remittences from the u.s. a recent study by the inter-american dialogue found that remittences make up 50% of household incomes for one in
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three families in the region. one can only imagine what will happen when that lifeline starts slimming down if the present administration's actions against immigrants continue. so, you know, this issue of the dichotomy between asylum seekers and migrants plays into discourse against immigration, and people are coming to take jobs and so on and so forth. it's true that many people are going because of economic -- for economic reasons, but another man i met from honduras traveling through mexico said it was either immigrate or listen to my children crying because they're hungry. what would you do? to which i don't have a viable answer. so how are they intwined? one in four northern triangle citizens would like to migrate. those that do aren't usually the poorest of the poor. those people can't afford the journey.
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the reasons they do immigrate are diverse, depending on context. while pressing poverty, especially in guatemala, is an important driver of migration, violence and poverty intwine in a variety of ways that is distinct in each migrant's story. so one phenomenon i think bears looking at is the ways that internal displacement, because of violence, often proceeds the decision to actually leave the country. decision that no one takes lightly. so one of the reasons is that, you know, for example, so this is a recent study from honduras. the people who lose their place in their particular neighborhood because of whether it is gang action or a -- in some cases it is people being made landless because of multi-national corporation projects, whatever it is. because socio-economic well-being is tied to familial
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networks, the ability to be taken care of by extensive family and social networks in the place where you are from, for poor central americans who can't leave where you live and live somewhere else in the country, it is not viable. there's no way to take care of your family. in my work, i've heard many stories of people who were internally displaced by distortion, a gang, left the neighborhood, tried to live in a rural area with an aunt, cousin, extended family. eventually, they wore out the welcome and could no longer sustain themselves or their family. they had to leave the country. now, that particular story, where does that fit into asylum law protocols, even before the trump administration? it is a very difficult thing to sell. asylum law is a tiny door that holds up the big wall. but it is that combination of poverty and sustained, collective, widespread poverty that makes poverty the condition and experience with violence the spark that drives out migration.
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so i'll just end by saying that the caging of central america, this cage is only being reinforced by present policies. we're now, in a sense, reinforcing the bars of that cage by every metric imaginable, broadening, expanding, intensifying the forces that have driven migration in the first place. the conditions of violation at work here are decades in the making and will be resolved through long-term engagement involving the united states, u.n., and actors across the region. i'm happy to talk about those things in the q&a. >> i'm sure there will be some good questions about that follow-up. before i ask maureen to talk, i forgot a housekeeping matter. for those who happen to have brought in drinks, even though apparently that's not allowed, if you have, would you please take them from the edges of the -- thank you so much. i'm here to protect those who are below you right now. thank you very much.
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appreciate it. maureen, please. >> thank you. >> the floor is yours. >> thanks to georgetown law for the invitation to speak at this annual conference which we always find very interesting. anthony looked at why people are leaving central america. i was asked to look at what happens to those who are on their journey or that end up staying in mexico. mexico is that sandwich country between central america and, for a lot of people, what they originally viewed as the main destination, which is the united states. sort of looking at what is mexico's protection capacity and what are the limitations they're facing, particularly as it relates to central american asylum seekers. obviously, what we've seen in the past few months has been a dramatic increase in apprehensions in mexico. again, a real shift from when we saw the mexican president who was elected last december, you know, policies of being a welcoming country, looking at alternatives for people to stay
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and work in mexico, to mostly response to, you know, u.s. threats and pressure, dramatically cracking down on immigration and migrants in transit through the country. they have apprehended as of august of this year over 144,000 migrants in transit. 85% from central america. if you look at how this is -- how much bigger it is than last year, if you compare the same eight months, it is a 67% increase from one year to the next. they've dramatically, again, i would say, because this is not the first time mexico has increased apprehension in response to u.s. pressure, but again, dramatically increased apprehensions. at the same time, what's different, i think, than what we saw when they had originally increased their apprehensions in 2014/'15 with mexico's southern border program is the dramatic increase in asylum requests. last week, the mexican refugee agency, commission to support refugees, released the most recent numbers, which is january
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to december -- to september, sorry, of this year. mexico received 54,377 asylum requests. this is a little over three times more than they received all of last year. if you look back, just how big of an increase this is, in 2015, four years ago, mexico received only 3,424 asylum requests. we have over 54,000 now compared to just a couple thousand a few years ago. it is a huge increase for a country that didn't feel the pressure to stand up in an asylum system until recently. why is it they have so many more people seeing mexico as a possibility or destination? i think there's many reasons, not just in response to the united states. one is there has been increased outreach in central america and mexico -- and cara can talk more about the efforts -- but it is hard to go to southern mexico
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and not see posters about, here, this is your right to seek protection. there are migrant shelters throughout mexico that actively screen migrants and educate asylum seekers. here's your rights. you may be able to request protection in mexico. here's how. there's broader network of organizations and lawyers. also, again, supported by unhcr, that can provide the legal guidance and assistance you didn't have a few years ago. one is that kind of knowledge people have of mexico as a destination country. it's coupled with improved reception capacity. there's more shelters and organizations and others that are able to support asylum seekers. another factor is word of mouth and successful settlement. i was there in august, and we were outside the detention center, talking to asylum seekers. they have to go every week there and have papers signs, they're continuing with their asylum claim. in speaking from several, especially from honduras, if they had their asylum claim
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resolved favorably, they were going to stay in mexico. they had friends. i heard i could get a job. you're hearing more people that know people who successfully settled in mexico. they believe it is an option for them. lastly, obviously, is the increasing obstacles people are receiving to receive protection in the united states. that's also word of mouth and also a reality. i think if you look at even what's happening in northern mexico with thousands and thousands of people being forced to wait for an appointment with the united states, very precarious conditions to those being sent back to mexico through the so-called migrant protection protocols, or remain in mexico program, more and more, we don't have numbers on it right now, but from organizations on the northern border that will say, more people are deciding to opt to request asylum in mexico. it has become so difficult to stay -- or to wait for an appointment in the united states. and it is dangerous in those border towns. wanting to see where else they can move and see mexico as a
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destination. what are the obstacles they may face if they decide to do that? some are legal, and some are in practice, and others are resource based. one, just looking at mexico's legal system, currently, it is not easy to request asylum in mexico. you have a 30-day limit from the time you enter the country to when you have to apply for asylum. it is challenged in mexico's supreme court. they should be resolving it hopefully this semester. there's the obstacle. the other is you have to stay in the state you request asylum. you have to appear every 8 days or 15 days to have papers signed, meaning you're continuing with your claim. most of these people are requesting asylum in southern mexico, particularly chapis. 66% of all mexico's asylum claims. you're in an area where, even though you technically should be able to get a humanitarian visa that allows you to work while there, it is backlogged. you have an accumulation of people in mexico's poorest state where they don't have -- it's
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70% some of the population living in poverty. there's not an area where there is an adequate system to support people waiting for claims to be processed. i think it is an obstacle that you are in places that are not necessarily adequate to support you while you're faced with challenges of housing, health care, education, et cetera. the other even practices by mexican officials or what they're interpretation of their responsibilities are. so even if you approach a port of entry in southern mexico, you'll be facing time in detention before you're allowed to continue with your asylum claim. it is not as if you'll be -- the only way you're allowed to pursue asylum without apprehended is if you're lucky to reach a shelter before being apprehended. meaning few people given increased enforcement are not facing at least weeks in pretty awful detention center conditions that have, you know,
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continuously been documented with lack of access to medical care, lack of food, and overcrowding, especially with mexico's increased enforcement. you have limited alternatives to the detention program. 8,000 people released from detention, based on a program the mexican agency has with shelters to release people. a lot of times you're actually going to be in detention for the entire time your claim is taking place, which is technically 45 days but can be months right now. you're faced with a lot of obstacles. the last on that is lack of proper screening. there's a citizen commission of mexico's immigration agency that did a monitoring mission of a lot of mexico's detention centers throughout the country in 2016. overall, they found that mexican government priorities are to detect, detain, and deport people, and not looking at protection. the majority of the people interviewed in this mission reported never having received
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information about their right to apply for protection in mexico, or they didn't understand what they were receiving. it is the lack of clarity and obstacles faced on them by officials. you don't want to request asylum. if you do, it'll be a long time, you're in detention, can't access a lawyer, and it is difficult to get legal assistance when in detention. you have to know who to ask for from the organization so they can see you. huge obstacles even if you want to request asylum, to do so in mexico. this means that about 10% of asylum claims in mexico don't pursue it. another 20% to 25% of those abandon their claims. either because they're tired of being in detention or they can't stay on the streets and support their family, or they feel they don't have an option to stay in mexico. that said, i think mexico has made progress on its asylum system. certainly the unh has a lot to do with that. with the new administration, they named a head of the refugee
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agency, who comes from the unhcr. has history and knows what needs to be done to strengthen their system. looking at how you increase training for your staff. how do you increase resources? we are seeing more cases being resolved favorably. i think they had mentioned that mexico abides by the declaration which is immigration and refugee law with the definition of someone being threatened by generalized violence or massive violations of human rights as possible conditions to receive asylum. they're starting to apply that definition more and more. it's been pretty much blanketed application for venezuelans seeking asylum in mexico. nearly 100% get asylum from mexico. they're doing it more for honduras and el salvador. 2017, half of the asylum seekers from honduras were getting refugee status or protection, like a complimentary protection. this year, it's increased 81%. you're seeing more people actually successfully getting
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protection in mexico. i think in all of this, unhcr support has been critical, both in increasing the capacity to increasing civil society capacity. i'll let you talk more about that. i think what we have not seen is a real commitment so far, even with the new government in mexico, to designate mexican resources to strengthening and building up an effective asylum system. a few years ago, it was a joke that mexico had 15 asylum officers for the whole country. really? how can they do that? even today, they have about 48 full-time mexican paid staff. the budget this year with the new government that's promising, you know, significant shifts and prioritizing humanitarian assistance, et cetera, had a budget of $1.2 million for the entire country for an asylum agency that right now is facing 5,000 54,000 requests. you'd think next year it'd
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increase. the budget that came out only increases it $3,000. the unh commissioner was in mexico weeks ago. they had meetings with the interior, the foreign minister, and they're all talking of having a tradition of receiving refugees, being hospitable. it is not yet reflected in their budget priorities. that's mexico's biggest challenge. you cannot continue to have an entire asylum system supported by just, for the most part, unhcr and civil society organizations doing the work to screen and support asylum seekers. andre ramirez, the head of the agency, knows of the budget shortfalls. he believes they need six times that amount for the staff they need, the training they need. we met with staff. again, this is an office facing 60% of the claims. they're tired. they work 12-hour days. they're paying for their own paper. it is a real crisis, i think.
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the system has been repeatedly alerted as being under verge of collapse, even under a the ythe rights commission. you need more resources. that's mix co-exico's biggest challenge, government commitment to making it work. unhcr is doing an amazing job to expand capacity, but you need the government to give more resources. few things to consider with mexico as an asylum seeker. it is not safe for all of the asylum seekers, especially those from the northern triangle. prosecutors pursuing people, especially southern mexico, particularly when waiting for asylum claims to be processed, you know when they're outside of the agency. every day, there are people visibly waiting to have papers signed. it is easy for someone, if they want to go after you, to cross the border and do it. we've seen it especially with women victims of domestic
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violence, linked to criminal organizations in central america. the lgbti community has been persecuted, as well, in mexico, and it is a vulnerable group. and we've dock nuumented high, horrific crimes against migrants in transit. the system had 100% impunity against it. less than 1% of crimes reported were investigated for crimes against migrants. there is a surge in mexicans that are requesting asylum in the united states. mexicans don't feel it is a safe country for them. that's a challenge, the security crisis in parts of mexico, and populations that probably wouldn't be adequately protected, given their own characteristics or geographic proximity to their country of origin. the others are very integration challenges. a lot of organizations that support refugees and asylum seekers in mexico talk about the fact that people who get refugee
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status in mexico struggle with housing, health care, education. having their documents recognized by mexican employers as being valid. i think even where you have cities that have been, you know, targeted, and unhcr is working to move people out of southern mexico, even then, you have a lot of jobs that are in the factories sector. they don't pay that well either. the economic struggle. i was talking to the head of a shelter on friday, and he was saying that some refugees still come to the shelter on sundays to get a good meal. there's the challenge. there is the challenge of mexico population with less than 1% foreign born as a country to really effectively view refugees and asylum seekers as constructive, important parts of society. in fact, what we've seen this year is an unfortunate growing
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sense of sxenophobia, not wantig the office to be downtown, to protests when the office was moved somewhere else, to not wanting it there. to even my uber driver in mexico city saturday morning that was feeling resentful of the fact the administration was going to offer jobs to central americans in mexico instead of working to create more jobs for mexicans. there's the broader, you know, area of how do you really -- what is mexico's reception capacity, and that also needs to include how do you work with mexican society so they become much more welcoming and willing to have that broader refugee population living in their communities. i think i would leave it at that. >> thank you very much, maureen. cara, if you'd round this out by talking about the regional approaches and unhcr's engagement. >> great. thank you very much. thank you for having us here talking about this very important subject. my understanding is that you talked about the problem, its source, and maureen talked a bit
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about what is being done. my job is sort of setting it all in context and talking a bit about what can be done on a regional level to sort of try and address this problem. i wanted to start talking a bit about something i think exemplifies best this continent. we have a crisis in central america, but we also have other crises going on at the moment which are much bigger. in a sense, the continent puts forward some of the best practices we have and some of the worst practices we have on responsibility sharing. which i think it is really the underpinning of what has enabled the international protection regime to remain alive the past six years. when there is a big problem, it can be just a problem of one country, but many have to come together and help each other out and try to find solutions. that has worked. it has worked around the world many years. not perfectly, with many, many problems, but certainly has enabled the middle east to sort of stay afloat, despite the pig
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syrian crisis. africa did the same in many circumstances. it has helped this continent. few years ago, we didn't have venezuela. today, we have over 4.2 million venezuelans who have left their countries, 16 countries. of course, we hear about venn zale l venezuela, but we don't hear as many problems as central america. 16 countries have come together to find a way to share the responsibility in a humane manner and a way that reflects the responsibility of the continent. of course, there are challenges there, too. we can certainly say that there has been a display of hospitality in the context of venezuela that has been, i think, in my view, remarkable. if we think about what columbia has done, obviously receiving over 1.2 million people, despite the fact they have over 7 million idps still in their country.
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i think a remarkable display of solidarity there. something that i think needs to be sort of looked at when we are looking at how to resolve large scale refugee and migrant flows. the second example we little talk about is nicaragua. costa rica received over 120,000 asylum applications all alone, and is doing it alone. that is another remarkable show of good will and willingness to do the right thing. with very little help, i must add. there has been some support to costa rica but not enough for what it's taken on. so these are two examples of sort of countries rolling up their sleeves. they have a problem, how do we resolve it? how do we talk about it? there is a regional platform that is responding. there is real concrete actions on the ground that i think we can look at. when it comes to the northern triangle, it has been -- i honestly have been speaking about this subject the past six
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years now. the problems are the same. they haven't changed. the same drama persists. we still have a problem on narrative, which is incredible. there are still people wondering whether people leaving from central america are refugees, which is hard to believe when you see what happens with these people. there is a problem of structure. we still have a serious problem of capacity, which maureen was pointing to when it comes to mexico, which is the best off in many ways. if we look at many other countries, we're definitely not there. guatemala is not there. belize is not there. so on. we still have a few countries sort of taking on a lot of the responsibility for this refugee flow. so if this is the setting, a little bit of what we have, what have we done? what have we tried to do? for the past, let's say, six years now, we have been stressing the need for a
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regional approach. this problem requires a multi-faceted response of a regional extent that springs everybody together to look at transit countries, asylum countries, to figure out a way to manage the problem in a coherent manner. so we have launched a sort of what we call a comprehensive response framework for central america. it brings together seven countries. it has brought sort of, from a political perspective, seven countries together to really look at what needed to be done. this was four years ago. sort of looking at what needed to be done in el salvador, guatemala, and in honduras, in terms of managing the displacement there. what were some of the programs that needed to be launched to really try and look at communities that were at high risk, and how do we try and help youth and children and women who are living in those
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neighborhoods? how do we stabilize the population in the best possible way? then we had discussions about how do we strengthen asylum system across the region so that they can be better equipped to deal with asylum application and providing protection? of course, we have been talking about solutions. what kind of solutions can we make available to people who are taking very, very -- lots of risks to come to this country and, in particular, to find protection? through this approach, and quite a lot of investment, both at the political level and also the operational level, we've opened offices all over the country now to support governments in providing responses. some of the data maureen was talking to, the fact that today we have a high number of asylum applications is not a coincidence. there are lots of ref gu yew ug now, they can make asylum
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applications, something not possible four years ago. i remember five years ago, there was families living in camps -- in parks under the stars literally. had no idea where to seek asylum. today, that's no longer the picture we have in mexico. we're far from being, you know, close to perfection, but certainly, mexico is offering a set of facilities that wasn't happening or they weren't offering yesterday. same goes with costa rica, which has made massive steps forward. and, of course, with smaller country like belize and dpa guatemala. it obviously has its own problem, and you explained what the problems are, but it is slowly but surely becoming a country of asylum. it doubled its asylum applications the last couple years. not for everybody but for some. for some refugees, that is the case. so we are seeing some result in terms of the number of people that are approaching unhcr, they are approaching governments.
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we're seeing a much larger shelter network throughout the region. over 80 shelters, new shelters, have been developed throughout the region over the past few years. we're seeing asylum system that are not perfect, for sure, but certainly starting to move and function in a way they were not functioning just a few years ago. and we are looking at more and more people being granted protection and being adjudicated in a favorable way which, again, is important data. now, this regional framework has also brought into the mix a lot of political actors. uas, for example, is about to launch a trans-fund to support countries who are developing programs for central america. we are also seeing more and more political pibuy-in into this framework. the reality is that the investment in this region has been very, very limited. for the problem it is facing.
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as much as unhcr and other actors are trying to do their best, we still have a situation in front of us where investment has been minimal. the notion of we have a protection problem, we need to resolve it is still far from being tackled in the right way. there are various initiatives under the way. some more complex than others. the reality is that we're still not there. countries are still very much struggling with what they need to do. so i would leave it at that in terms of sort of the overall picture. perhaps we can have a conversation responding to conversation. >> excellent. thank you very much. i'll invite people to come forward and ask questions. go to any mic, if you'd like to. please when you ask questions identify yourselves. if you're asking it to a particular panelist, please do that. take your time. in the meantime, because i'm a professor, i'll ask some
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questions. please do come forward because i'll stop as soon as i see you, honestly. i already see somebody coming. i didn't have to go that far. could you introduce yourself. >> i'm john ashley. sorry. i asked a question at panel one, but i'm sitting on the aisle so i can get up. if anybody has a question they want to pass on. this is for anthony fontez. you know, there have been people who said that it's american demand that drives the drug trade. if we didn't demand it, there wouldn't be the kind of money pouring into the gangs. the cartels have got more money than law enforcement does. >> correct. >> they have better weapons. they've got armor-piercing stuff and will kill anybody who gets in their way. there has been a proposal. why don't you legalize all these drugs in the united states? have the government make them.
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nice and cheap, pure, synthetic. you can go to cvs, buy cocaine for 25 cents. >> i think this question is for the utopia panel. >> nobody could impress their girlfriend with, you know, i can blow $10,000 on blow, and here's a couple hundred bills to shoot up your nose. then we can have sex in the swimming pool. if you can get it from the cvs. if you take the money away, you take the corruption away. now, i don't know whether it is practical or not, but is any part of that possible? >> great question. [ laughter ] >> that was not the question i was going to ask. thank you. >> as i said, you know, the solutions that are available might be utopian. that's what we're here to discuss, right? in terms of -- in all that detail you gave, you are correct
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on a lot of different fronts. i would say that, yes, the amount of money being brought in by drug trafficking organizations is tantamount to the gdps of these countries. given the extensive poverty, it is one of the major money-making -- ways to make money, especially for the poor in the country. it is deeply embedded until the mor in the moral economies of places. where they've trafficked since the '70s, they're seen as benefactors by swaths of the population. there have been movements, actually, under the former president, molina, in the early 2010s, actually, started making noise about legalizing the traffic of cocaine through guatemala. in retrospect, it was just to get the clinton state department to come give more money, which it worked. they started dialogue among other countries. u.s. came in, no, no, no, no,
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no. don't do that. here's money to fight the drug problem. i don't think that eliminating -- if you could all of a sudden magically wave a wand and eliminate the money coming in for drug traffickers, it wouldn't resolve the problem, the deep problems of immunity in the country, or the deep corruption in the country. it'd cause a lot of chaos at first, right? the real problem, i think, the drug trafficking organization, it is legalization in ending u.s.-led war on crime -- war on drugs policies is a first step. now, that'd have to come from the united states. it couldn't just happen in these countries. so what's the state of play in terms of legalization of cocaine in the u.s. or met amphetamine, or even opioids, which increasingly in guatemala is one of the major cash crops being developed there. i think it is a non-starter in terms of actually getting any u.s. administration or either
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side of the aisle to push for an end to the war on drugs. outside of utopia imaginings, i don't think it is possible. the other thing is, to me, the problem goes deeper than the drug traffickers. it is really about decades of -- centuries of a tiny elite holding on to power by whatever means possible, and making sure no government entities can interfere with what they're doing. i'll give an example. guatemala has the lowest tax rate in the hemisphere, right? 12% flat tax. which everyone does their best not to pay. this is because of an elite rule that has gone on and being held up and given political cover by the united states, especially during the cold war, that has made it -- and that impunity for the elite, the ways they've been able to protect their interests get into, for example, the banking system. extortion is one of the major problems run by gangs. feeding off poor communities. much of the extortions now
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happen with people making deposits in bank accounts, right? when i talk to attorney generals and people who work, you know, the good guys, the ag's office in guatemala, talk about the problem of extortion, which is one of the major forces driving out migration because of violence in the region, they say the hardest thing in tracking down extortion isn't even finding witnesses or going after the gangs. it is getting the banks to give up their information. there's no financial oversight laws because of elite rule for generations, making sure no one could look into how they're dealing with their money. not i'm side-stepping your question. i'd love if we could all do exactly what you just described. but at the end of the day -- >> to solve the problem, he meant. >> right. i think something for viesable, getting to the core of the issue would be increasing oversight of
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elite transactions that go far beyond drug trafficking. >> very helpful. thank you very much. we have two colleagues on this side. please introduce yourself and ask our first question here. >> yes. hi. my name is valerie from the institute of women's policy research here in d.c. my question isn't as interesting as the previous one. >> how could it be? >> i wanted to know more information about vulnerable groups amongst the migrants. i know maureen touched upon that earlier. for instance, we talked about the limited capacity of mexico to deal with migrants. even though we tend to focus on the u.s. and how harsh some of the policies are right now, you know, mexico has its own history, as well. i'm thinking about afro descendant populations from honduras, guatemala, indig knen populations who may not speak
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spanish, coming through mexico. there are a case, cabello released in 2014 after staying five years in pretrial detention in mexico. he was a member of the community in honduras. i'm wondering, are there people that we're not even capturing right now? earlier, i heard in a panel that africans, so extra regional migrants, are even being stopped at the southern border of mexico. are there groups from the information that you have that are particularly being targeted by, you know, harsher methods? thank you. >> i think anyone stuck there feels vulnerable, given the precarious situation they're in, and easily targeted. even central americans are identifiable by mexicans. there is a general targeting of central americans and migrants in transit. i think beyond the lgbti
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community, and domestic violence victims, there are a lot of women and girls fleeing because of interfamilial violence and feel persecuted, sometimes into mexico. another is unaccompanied children. we did series of videos interviewing central american children from honduras. one girl, i remember, she had been basically forced into working with prostitution with one of the gangs. fled to mexico. escaped a kidnapping attempt. then was offered asylum. she was 15. her mom was in the united states. these conditions where there are people who could qualify for protection in mexico, but it is not in their best interest, given you'll be under mexican state custody until you're 18, not an effective system either. vulnerable group of children traveling on their own. i would say there is a large african and extra continental population that's pretty much stuck in mexico right now. it's what we're seeing in terms of the media lately. it has to do with some changes
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to how mexico applied its visa system lately. i think for extra continentals and cubans. up until a few months ago, if you were from a country without a good counselor presence in mexico, or no counselor presence, or a country that didn't want to receive them, mexico wasn't sure what to do with you if you were coming from congo or wherever. they'd give you an exit vis a, r a safe passage to get to the border. it was good for 20, 30 daiys. you could get anywhere in mexico. after pressure to change it, now, you're issued an exit visa but to go through southern mexico. basically means there's no possibility for these people to go farther north without being detected. it is a population that doesn't feel like mexico is the right place for them to be requesting
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protection, whether it is because they have no cultural language affinities to mexico. i mean, there's a lot of the african population that might fit there. cubans, most of them really want -- the main destination is the united states. i think there's a -- basically, there's a lack of response from the mexican government to what other options this population might have that doesn't want protection in mexico, wants to keep going but has no way to safely and humanely do that right now. it is a challenge that we've not gotten a clear answer from the mexican government or what else they could offer or what else they could do to support the populati population. i'm not sure if you have thoughts of that as well. for certainly people who are particularly vulnerable. we see the same thing with the npp or people being stuck at the mexican border, returning to the united states. vulnerable people shouldn't be in the program but are sent back to mexico border towns which are also vulnerable, given their conditions and how they're traveling. >> perhaps to add, from our
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perspective, perhaps the most vulnerable groups of people currently, especially mexico, is trans-lgbti community. within the detention centers and also outside, the level of violence still remains quite high. it is specifically for them that we have pushed very hard to set up a program to make sure they could sort of find some protection without having to, you know, walk across borders and sort of put themselves further at risk. for me, the second largest, most vulnerable group is unaccompanied children in mexico, and for whom there are very few solutions. what we'll do is they'll have family members here, aiming to come to the united states because they have parents or extended family members here. for those, we have now for a number of years advocated to set up a legal pathway to the united states, specifically because we felt that these children were,
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in any case, coming here, will make their way here. we might as well do it in an organized and safe way for the children. this discussion has been going on for quite some time now. >> thank you. i have three questioners now. we'll start on this side. i'm watching as people come town and take them in oing them in o >> thank you. since this panel talked about the greater issues that are leading to people migrating from central america, basically last fall, when the trump administration suspended aid to central american countries, there was actually a report last september which actually mentioned that a lot of the people who are migrating from rural guatemala are being reported to migrate due to climate change affecting agriculture there. one of the factors was a fungus that affects the coffee plants,
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leading to declining yields, and people are not being able to support themselves. my question was more, like, we talk about the effects of violence. how it is shaping people having to migrate from other regions. climate change being now a major cause for different means of leading to people to migrate. on the other hand, we see that basically there is an increase in restrictions on, like, what conditions and reasons people can claim asylum for, as we see in the u.s. now. also, restriction of, like, many people who apply for asylum claims being branded as economic migrants. how do we move ahead and be able to solve these intersecting challenges where it is not clear to define as who is the refugee and who is not. there could be multiple factors
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leading to people migratmigrati. >> adding to complexities. i believe the problems have been there for a long time in terms of the complexities of the flows. i'm not an expert in economic situation of this country, so i won't talk to that. i know it does play a part in decision of people to move on and try to find solutions to a better life and for their families, et cetera. from our perspective, it's always been there has to be sustained -- there has to be a meaningful chance of people actually establishing a life in these countries and sustaining there. i don't think anybody wants to leave their homes if they can stay there, right? that, of course, has been jeopardized in recent times by having a much more sort of
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strict approach to the finding of a viability to the country. that's a real challenge. a real challenge that will often be brought to the table when we talk to everybody involved. we can only do so much. we can only support in doing so much if the problem is not addressed at the core, tat roat root. we are going to continue addressing the impact rather than the problem itself. that is a fundamental issue. unless there is a structured way of addressing the challenges in this country from, you know, climate change perspective, from a law and order perspective, from a broader institutional perspective, and some of the challenges you were discussing. i think we are not going to. ten years, we're talking about the same issues all together. that will not take us very far. that is certainly at the root of, as it is for all situations, when you have mass scale
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displacement, there's always a number of factors leading to that. if you look at venezuela, it is a mixed flow. you have people fleeing for different reasons, but people are fleeing because there's been a collapse of the state in many ways. looking at root causes and investment in the countries is certainly, you know, investing in everything from, you know, looking at how the country is being managed to how, you know, the type of corruption or the issue linked to cartels, the drug trafficking, it all has to be looked in a serious matter. the rest of us can only put band aids on the problem. >> i would just add that, as i said before, i think asylum is a little door that holds up the big wall, in the sense that it is always only let in a tiny trickle of people, defined by very strict and often -- very strict categories that don't often line up with what makes people leave their countries in the first place. it only deals with the worst
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case scenario, after everything has become wrong, that asylum is an option. you mentioned in terms of cutting off u.s. aid to the countries as a big stick to make them do something. what, who knows really, right? i think there's a number of small ways. i won't call them small or subtle but ways that are less advertised that the u.s. has been supporting positive change in the region in the past that have evaporated under this administration without a whole lot of attention. what comes to my mind is the now ended program of commission against immunity in guatemala. it was a u.n. supported body, going after the elites in elite power i had been talking about before. brought one president down. brought -- exposed huge corruption scandals among the
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guatemalan elite. it was making systematic and structural changes in how guatemalan elite could do business. it has broad, popular support. under molina, the last president, he threatened to take away the mandate. vice president biden and the state department said, if you do that, we cut off funding. it stayed. three years later, president morales, a little trump, a comedian made for tv character, who -- he was starting to get sniffed at, tracking him down. when he threatened to get rid of them, along with a lot of congressmen, the u.s. did nothing. looked the other way, right? just that single looking away is beginning going to cause unfold told reve in the little progress made toward reignining in these elit.
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it is really continuing on with the programs that have succeeded. at least gives the sense for people in the region that someone is -- that there is hope. i think that preservation even resurrection of hope for people in the region is key to actually starting -- stemming these flows and making people invest in the places they are in ways that are possible. >> thank you, anthony. so we have six minutes left. we have three questioners. they're all going to get to ask a question. i'm good at math, so i know how to do this. please, if each of you would ask your questions now sus sin, ande panel will respond as the final round of comments, if that's okay with you. >> thank you. i'm julio toro, immigration lawyer trying to help the people who do get here remain here and fight these cases that our immigration judges don't believe the corruption.
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they don't believe the police are corrupt. they don't believe that there are no protections for these people. they can't do internal replacement. of course they couldn't internally relocate. they don't get that the gangs, you know, have infiltrated everything. so in my entire practice and studies when i was in law school, it was always, we got a look at the long-term picture. one of you had mentioned, you know, long term, we have to see, how can we pick this? it is not a border solution. it is not an overnight solution. someone had mentioned, there's got to be greater investment. more nations have to be investing. can't just be the u.s. worried about this. practically speaking, you know, who is going to invest? how can we get people to invest? how can we change this cycle of, you know, trying to elect someone for an overnight fix, or whoever is in charge now thinks that a wall and crocodiles are going to solve the problem. it's not. we know that. so long-term fixes. who do we go to to say, you
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know, you have to do your job. are we talking u.s. politicians? are we talking u.n. officials? are we talking -- you know, what is going to be resolving this u.s. long-term fix so that, you know, it is not the u.s. putting a puppet leader into a new country, which has been the problem in the history that we know. for the investments, whos make g i the investments to improve these situations? >> thank you. >> hello. i'm daniel with the economic policy institute. i think my question is sort of a narrow one, mostly directed at maureen and kiara. one of the tools and the policy toolbox has been issuing work permits to asylum seekers in countries of destination. the administration was giving them out for a while but stopped. it's been hard to get good information about it. the reporting has been sort of sparse. it is even hard to get
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information about it from the people who are in mexico. i'm wondering, can you offer any additional context about how that's worked, what's happened? our ilo offices are working together to push governments to do that and make it more common. what's been the experience? anything you can offer along those lines. >> great question, dan. thanks. our third question? >> hi, i'm conner. i'm interning at the center for democracy in the americas. the administration cut foreign assistance to central america. what are the long term effects we'll sew from that, mostly in terms of poverty, displacement, and violence? thank you. >> thank you. okay. so who would like to start? go ahead. >> thank you. >> let's talk about positive things. so work permits. we have seen that mexico has made a point of developing what
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we call a local program, pretty much in the area s maureen was discussing, in the corridor of mexico. for the first time, we are actually seeing asylum seekers will have -- and refugees are able now to get -- who are legally residing in mexico and are favorably considered for protection, are able to stay in mexico with a work permit and are also integrated into the labor market through a job placement system that unhcr and the government of mexico is working together on. it's been very successful so far in terms of the retention rate and making sure that companies abide by a set of standards when it comes to employment standards. there are, of course, also examples like the one maureen explained earlier, that in certain circumstances, refugees are finding themselves working in sectors that are not high paying. overall, what we have seen is that we have an 85% retention
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rate of people channelled into the employment scheme. it has also been coupled with insertion for children whose parents have been placed in this new employment scheme. also for children to have access to education. sort of making sure that we are stabilizing the family and making sure that, you know, the parents are able to work and the children are able to go to school. that's been really positive. that's very much coming out of this regional framework that i was talking about earlier. mexico has committed to development of this integration program. i must say, it has certainly opinion a very good example of a country that's trying to do something to actually stabilize population where they've sought protection. the other example is guatemala. the government has just announced recently that as part of the regional framework they would issue work permits for
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people that are recognized as ref refugees in guatemala. that is positive. we have a difference between dpaut guatemala and mexico, but it is a step in the right direction. >> is there work for those who -- >> that's what i was trying to say in a diplomatic manner. >> you are the diplomat. >> clearly, we have a different economic reality. the fact that the government is willing to share what they have, it is not a negative thing. >> thank you for clarifying. clearly, the international community has a lot to do in this. yes, maureen? >> sure. i think there's a few things with the work permits. there's one when you're applying for asylum, you can't apply for a humanitarian visa to work, but they're also their own category as a visa that this government used a liberal interpretation the first few months of the year, like for public, i think it was like public use, interest, to provide this many
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people with humanitarian visas. over 20,000 people in the first two months of the year got humanitarian visas. there was the caravans coming through. the mexican government wasn't feeling like they could adequately address that population in a short period of time. give them visas. they can work here. they have to renew it six months to a year. traditional categories for victims of violence crimes in mexico, so they can stay in the country and pursue criminal complaints against aggressors. that was one of the main purposes actually. they have used it in other categories. haitians got humanitarian visas in tianna tijuana after they were stuck there. the webpage has, per month, how many humanitarian visas are issued. if you look for data, i can give that to you. there's been over 28,000 this year ago. i think there is a clear thing of disconnect between labor shortages in mexico and a need.
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i was speaking to someone from one of the biggest medium to big-sized mexican associations who also understands they need to do better to match where they might actually have labor shortages to needs. the mexican government so far has more minimal programs in southern mexico. it is a very small program meant to start providing economic or employment opportunities for central american vie mooi grant migrants. they have not see it on a mass scale. just to comment on what's happening here, with the u.s. and assistance, the united states congress has been the best backstop to the administration's worst intentions of slashing all aid to central american. they had been looking at climate change adaptability, rule of law programs, evidence-based, violence prevention programs, to good governance. congress worked to make sure next year you can't stop. they're working to try to not allow that to happen again, so aid to not be cut. that's one area where the u.s. congress continues to really
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push on the need to support central america, on the need to support anti-corruption efforts. it is pushing members of congress to keep doing that, look at root causes of migration from central america. >> last word, and i know we're become our time. >> i'll take the long-term fix issue and get prophesying. my apology. 50 years of sustained u.s. policy supporting the powers that kept the status quo more or less what it is. from supporting a scorched earth campaign and genocide in guatemala and el salvador 30 years later, right? this has been -- it's taken a sustained effort to keep things -- make things this bad. it is going to take a sustained effort to, over an equal amount of time, as kiara was saying, not ten years but another generation, to actually do anything to resolve what's
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happening now. echoing things brought up in prior panels, these problems have been going on for a long time. the crisis at the u.s. border is just, in many e emination, expression, spectacularization of a crisis that's been ongoing in central america for generations, right? the u.s. helped sustain in all sorts of ways. i believe it is a moral responsibility and also a pragmatic need, that what goes around comes around. the crucible of central america exploded in the '80s because of conditions that were, you know, unlivable. i think those conditions are being repeated again in a way that is harder to pick apart and understand. unless something is done in a long-term, sustained pa eed bass is going to continue to cause major disruption and suffering in central america, and it'll echo out for generations across the region. >> thank you very much.
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please join me in thanking these experts. [ applause ] we're back at 3:45. please be back on time so we can get going for our last panel. on sunday, key testimony from this week's impeachment inquiry hearings. starting with gordon sondland, the u.s. ambassador to the european union. followed by fiona hill, the security council's former director for russia. and david holmes, affairs counselor in ukraine. that's 10:30 eastern on sunday on c-span. you can stream them on next, a discussion on f


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