Former U.S. Ambassador to Honduras visits GR to discuss situation at the border
In the last five months the number of people immigrating to the United States from Honduras has increased significantly, according to James Nealon, former U.S. Ambassador to Honduras and now board member of the Association for a More Just Society.
“Formerly what we typically saw were young men coming to the United States to work, and typically what we are seeing now in about 70 percent of the cases are families and unaccompanied minors coming to the southwest border, so families defined as with at least one parent with at least one child.”
Two weeks ago that the Trump administration announced it was planning to end foreign assistance programs for Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
But according to Kurt Ver Beek, co-founder of the organization headquartered in Grand Rapids, cutting aid could threaten the work he has done for the last 35 years to reduce homicides in the most violent neighborhoods in Honduras.
“Now, we’ve convinced the police a little over a year ago to start trying to implement the same methodology in the whole country. So, that project is now at risk if the Trump Administration cuts all aid that project will not be able to keep going.”
Gabriela Osorio, a resident in Honduras, says that the lack of economic opportunity is what she believes is driving people to leave the county.
“The majority of the people who are coming there are not criminals. They are going there because they want to look for an opportunity to do something there. “
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, the number of parents and children apprehended at the southern border has jumped by six times in one year.
Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News.