“This analysis shows that deep and credible fear is a primary driver for Central Americans leaving their countries.”
Understanding motivations for migration is complex. Motivations for migration from Central America to the United States are many, and can vary at individual, household, and group levels. This analysis, however, shows that deep and credible fear is a primary driver for Central Americans leaving their countries.1
According to global metrics, residents of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras experience some of the world’s highest levels of organized crime, homicide, and risk of natural disasters. Survey analysis by FWD.us researchers indicates that this exposure to extortion, murder, and natural disasters is extremely prevalent among those considering leaving their countries. It is sometimes just as prominent, or more, as other factors, such as a desire to overcome economic hardship or to join family in the U.S.
The United States is an obvious destination for individuals and families fleeing dangerous situations, and it should remain so. Providing asylum and refuge to immigrants has historically been an important value held by Americans. And, in decades past, the U.S. has annually welcomed more people seeking refuge than any other country in the world.
The situation in Central America offers the U.S. an opportunity to provide refuge to those fleeing severe harm, and claim its rightful place as the world’s leader in providing humanitarian relief to people seeking asylum at our borders. Moreover, many of those seeking asylum possess valuable skills and experience that could help address some of the worker shortages the country has been experiencing, while simultaneously revitalizing communities large and small. The Biden Administration must do more to ensure that Central Americans can access their international human rights to claim asylum in the U.S.