by Roger F. Noriega, Jose R. Cardenas
American Enterprise Institute
July 24, 2014
The recent influx of illegal Central American immigrants (including a surge of unaccompanied minors) into the United States stems in part from violent, sophisticated drug trafficking operations in those nations and governments that are either unwilling or unprepared to confront organized crime. These operations are not only driving many more immigrants to the United States but also threatening US national security. Investing additional money in fences and border patrol agents alone will not solve US illegal immigration problems. Short-term steps for the US should include thwarting human smuggling, addressing human rights and refugee concerns before people abandon their countries, and mobilizing international cooperation and funding. To address immigration and security problems in the long term, a US-led multinational initiative is needed to better equip Central American governments to confront criminal organizations and drug trafficking and to hold corrupt officials accountable.