Fighting against multiple incentives to come to the US
The ad campaign is designed to combat a range of factors driving migrants to the border, including a slew of misinformation being spread by smugglers and the widespread belief among migrants that under the Biden administration, border enforcement has been relaxed and the US is more welcoming to immigrants. That’s a powerful incentive for many Central American migrants, who are seeking to escape a region best by troubles, including violence and the economic devastation wrought by the pandemic and two hurricanes last year.
“Obviously there’s a push factor and a very strong one, especially after the hurricanes last year, the Covid pandemic and obviously the lack of opportunity in certain areas,” Guatemalan Ambassador to the US Alfonso Quiñónez told CNN.
“Messaging is important. But the other part is how the coyotes tweak the messaging in order to present that the border is open, when it’s not open,” Quiñónez said, referring to smugglers.
In the last month, the number of migrants coming to the US-Mexico border has continued to rise.
US Customs and Border Protection encountered 171,700 migrants in March
, including a record number of unaccompanied minors
, far exceeding February’s totals and continuing an upward trend dating back to last year
, according to preliminary data obtained by CNN
The influx has strained government resources that had already been under stress during la pandemia di coronavirus
, resulting in overcrowded conditions at border facilities and children languishing in stations not suited for their care
Roxana Rivera, 28, told CNN last month that she and her 6-year-old daughter had left Honduras after back-to-back November hurricanes destroyed her home and everything in it.
Word back home, Rivera ha detto, was that the US was now allowing people with children to freely cross the border — which wasn’t entirely true. She heard that on the news, lei disse. Relatives in the US relayed the same information. Other migrants have similar stories.
During a press briefing on Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged the challenges of convincing migrants in Latin America not to journey to the US, and said the ads were only part of the administration’s overall campaign.
“We continue to look for ways to project it more broadly and more effectively in the region. But that’s a sliver of what our efforts are and we don’t feel that simply telling people with more PSAs not to come that that is going to be the only way to reduce the number of people who are taking the journey,” Ha detto Psaki.
‘You will suffer a lot on the way’
Questa settimana, US Customs and Border Protection released a video of a smuggler dropping two young children from the top of a 14-foot-high border barrier
. The smugglers fled the area
, abandoning the 3-year-old and 5-year-old girls
. Agents rendered aid and the sisters were eventually medically cleared
, il agency said
, adding that they remain in US custody
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas released a stern statement Wednesday condemning the smuggling incident, detto: “The inhumane way smugglers abuse children while profiting off parents’ desperation is criminal and morally reprehensible.”
“Just this month, a young girl died by drowning, a six-month-old was thrown into the river, and two young children were dropped from a wall and left in the desert alone. There can be no doubt that children are exceptionally vulnerable when placed in the hands of smugglers. There is grave risk they will be exploited and harmed,” Ha aggiunto.
Di giovedì, the US embassy in Guatemala posted a testimonial
su Twitter, showing a woman
, whose face is blurred
, describing her journey with smugglers
. “We walked for five days and five nights
. They would only give you canned food and we had run out of water
,” lei dice, in spagnolo. “You will suffer a lot on the way.
” The video is intended to warn migrants not to put their lives at risk
Comunque, migrants continue to rely on smugglers. An immigration attorney shared a Facebook page with CNN where migrants corresponded in the comment section about linking up with a smuggler.
“In genere, [messages are] not being heard and the reason for that is because the push factors for that are so strong that people are willing to take the risk even if it’s a dangerous journey. They tune in more to their neighbors next door, their family, and smugglers,” said Wendy Young, president of Kids in Need of Defense, which works with unaccompanied migrant children.
The challenge of shifting the message
Concerns over messaging date back to the transition.
Durante quel periodo, officials recognized that migrants
’ expectations of the Biden administration were subject to being shaped by smugglers
, secondo una fonte a conoscenza delle discussioni. As early as December
, incoming Biden administration officials did an colloquio with Spanish-language media cautioning people from coming
But warnings from administration officials, no matter how senior, often fall short amid other messages spread within communities.
“Different administrations have used ads, social media ads. But are those ads really penetrating?” said Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas. “The messages that are winning the day in the minds and hearts of immigrants, migranti, è … word on the street and smuggler messaging.”
“I think those ads can’t hurt. I think it’s important that people understand the realities of the journey. That may make some folks think twice. A questo riguardo, there’s probably no harm that comes from them, but I don’t think I’d put a whole lot of stock really keeping a whole lot of people from staying home,” said Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar of Texas.
Worsening conditions in the region, pent-up demands and the perception of the Biden administration being more lenient have factored into the increasing numbers of migrants. Trump-era policies barring people from coming to the US also contributed to more people waiting in Mexico to come to the United States.
“If I’m hearing anything it’s not about accurate information they have heard. It’s about the disinformation they’ve come across,” Lindy Morrison, executive director of Seguimos Adelante, a non-profit that supports asylum seekers, ha detto alla CNN. “To them it’s not disinformation until they get here.”
In a nod to the gravity of the situation both on the border and in the region
, Presidente Joe Biden recently tapped Vice President Kamala Harris to lead efforts in Central America and address root causes of migration
, a role mimicking what Biden did during influxes in
2014 e 2015.
Quella — esperti, lawmakers and officials argue — is what will result in the most change.
Questa settimana, Harris spoke with President Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala and discussed increasing humanitarian assistance to Guatemala, Honduras, ed El Salvador, as well as exploring opportunities to create jobs and improve conditions for people in the region, according to a White House readout. Harris also thanked Giammattei for his efforts to secure Guatemala’s southern border.