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What Drives Asylum Seekers To The U.S.?

Jeronimo Cortina from the University of Houston explains the conditions and circumstances in Central America that lead many families to make the arduous journey to the United States.

Photo by Mike Blake/Reuters/PBS NewsHour
Child detention facility in Tornillo, Texas, on June 19.


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There's been a considerable amount of controversy concerning our southern border with the detention and deportation of Central American immigrants. But we seem to focus so much lately on what happens at the border after that point – namely the separation of families – that perhaps we overlook the situation that leads to all that.

With so much gang and drug cartel activity in Central American countries, should it be any surprise that so many are willing to risk detainment – or even death – to make the dangerous journey to the United States? And with all of that going on, what are the leaders and institutions in those countries doing to keep their citizens safe? And how much will the upcoming presidential election in Mexico play into this?

In the audio above, Houston Matters host Craig Cohen talks with University of Houston political science professor Jeronimo Cortina about the political situation south of the U.S. and how it drives so many to migrate northward.

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