A record number of families have been showing up at the southern border, most fleeing from a region known as the Northern Triangle in Central America which encompasses of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Over 100,000 men, women and children arrived in April alone, including 9,000 unaccompanied minors, according to Customs and Border Protection.
To see why so many families are fleeing, PIX 11 went to Central America along with a New York delegation on a fact-finding mission. Participants included the New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan of Catholic Charities and the RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum.
In all three countries we looked at how rampant gang violence, endemic poverty and even climate change have forced people out of their communities.
A Personal Note from Reporter Cristian Benavides
As an immigrant myself, I ended our news special with a personal note about migrating to the United States when I was a child.
I came here from Ecuador when I was 10 years old. My mother and I weren’t fleeing violence but we know what it’s like to start over. It can be really hard and it’s easy to make assumptions about those who look different than we are.
Understandably, there is concern about who is or isn’t allowed to stay in the United States and there is a national conversation happening over how to respond to the large flow of migrants and properly vet claims of asylum.
I was once a stranger in this country, too, and my hope is that this PIX 11 News Special sheds light on why the majority of migrants are fleeing the Northern Triangle region.
Contributors to the report:
Reporter Cristian Benavides, Photographer Ken Pelczar, Editor Kord Stanley, Executive Producer, Rebecca Millman