South Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) accompanied House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a weekend trip to Central America, to get a close look a the roots of the current immigration crisis, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
In a phone call from El Salvador, Cuellar told News Radio 1200 WOAI news that while the crushing crime rate is down in the 'Northern Triangle' of Central America, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, which have sent the majority of the flood of refugees to the U.S. this year, there are still no jobs to allow people to work and support their families.
"The Trump Administration has cut off funding to a lot of local programs that address education, that address security," Cuellar said.
Cuellar says trying to stop illegal immigration at the destination has never been successful. The key is to try to stop the causes of illegal immigration at its source.
"We just can't put up a wall to try to stop the immigrants, while the drivers of that immigration are going to be disregarded."
Cuellar says money that is earmarked for a wall would be better spent on job training, crime fighting, and economic development efforts in Central America.
Analysts say immigrants do not want to leave their home countries, where their families live, where their histories lie, and where they speak the language and understand the customs, and go to a far off place where none of those are true. But, in the case of most of the nations which are sending immigrants to the U.S. today, the roots of that immigration is no different than the reasons why people came to the U.S. from Ireland in the 19th Century and from Italy in the early Twentieth Century---a lack of economic opportunity at home.
Cuellar points out that one reason the Trump Administration cut off funding the Central America is the corruption which is rampant in those countries, which results in any aid momey making its way into the pockets of the well connected, instead of to the intended programs.
On the way back, Cuellar and Pelosi also toured a migrant detention facility in the Rio Grande Valley.