(Español) The Department of Homeland Security estimates that approximately 100,000 migrants will have crossed the southern United States border in March of 2019. This far exceeds February’s totals. The question for immigration officials is not simply a matter of the politics surrounding the immigration issue at the border, which the Trump administration has made the central issue of many of its policy proposals, which has led to some of the most controversial issues of the past two years, but also why the massive influx of immigrants at this moment. There has been no dramatic shift in the political situation in Central America or immigration laws of the US. Experts agree the influx can be narrowed down to three main factors: the business of human smuggling, seeing other migrants have success, and, ironically, the Trump administration’s hardline stance.
Unfortunately, it’s a well known fact human smuggling is a wide and far reaching business in Central America. People will pay the smugglers, commonly referred to as “coyotes,” to get them out of their native country and to the United States. When people make the decision to come to the US, they have to make the decision to come alone or with their family. Smugglers will charge less for a family than they will for a a single male. When reaching the southern border, the smugglers will inform the family to turn themselves into border patrol, because it is a greater possibility for the family to be released to fight their case while not detained. Single men will would have to be smuggled in passed the border, as they will most likely have to fight their case while detained.
The second major influencer is the mass influx of migrants are them seeing success others have in reaching the US. Social media has played a major role in having more people attempt the crossing. Once family members or friends reach the US, they will stay in contact through social media and convince others to make the journey.
Ironically, a major factor in the increased crossings seem to be the Trump’s own hardline stance on immigration. People in Central America see what the administration is doing and, the common stance, is that the time to travel here is now. Despite the inherent dangers, they feel that if they do not make the trip now, something will change in the laws in the US that will make it more difficult or impossible to make the journey here. When making the decision to come to the US, many families decide the benefits outweigh the risks.