Honduran President Blames U.S. Drug Policy For Migrant Surge

By McCarton Ackerman 07/16/14

President Juan Hernandez decried the American drug war as an increased flow of migrants seek escape from escalating violence.

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Honduran president Juan Hernandez has slammed the drug policies of the Obama administration, blaming them for an increase in violence throughout Central America and sparking a surge of migration to the United States.

Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world and Hernandez declared that the country has been living “in an emergency for a decade.” He blamed the war on drugs in both the U.S. and Colombia as a key cause, because it pushed drug traffickers into the country and created massive turf wars.

“A good part of [migration] has to do with the lack of opportunities in Central America, which has its origin in the climate of violence, and this violence, almost 85 percent of it, is related to the issue of drug trafficking," he said. "This is creating a serious problem for us that sparked this migration."

Hernandez’s comments come on the heels of those made last week by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who blamed drug addiction in the U.S. with fueling both an immigration crisis and violent cartels throughout Central America. He has urged Obama to ease up on his deportation-heavy plans and work to keep fleeing children in the U.S.

"How do the drug cartels maintain their power? With American guns bought with American dollars because of American consumption of the drugs," he said. "The drugs don't stay in Honduras. They don't stay in Mexico. They come straight to the streets of the United States of America. And so, I think we have a great responsibility in the debilitating of those countries."

The Obama administration is projecting that 150,000 children under the age of 18 could illegally seek to enter the U.S. from Central America next year. They have asked lawmakers for $3.7 billion to pay for more border security, speed up deportations, and hire additional immigrant court judges.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.