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Central Americans, ‘Scared of What’s Happening’ in U.S., Stay Put

That said, the two general populations of migrants — those principally fleeing poverty and those principally fleeing violence — seem to be responding in different ways.

Honduras has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, and many people fleeing the violence continue to leave Honduras in significant numbers, experts say.

“There isn’t an institution in the country that can protect them,” said Sister Lidia Mara Silva de Souza, national coordinator of the Human Mobility Pastoral in Honduras and a member of the Scalabrinian missionary order.

According to the United Nations, more people from the Northern Triangle filed for asylum through the Department of Homeland Security in the first three months of this year than during the same period last year.

An increasing number of Northern Triangle residents have also filed for asylum in other countries, particularly Mexico, migration experts said. Some who might have sought sanctuary in the United States have gone elsewhere, citing Mr. Trump’s policies.

The stream of Central American migrants like Mr. Fuentes, who are principally fleeing poverty, has dropped significantly, immigrants’ advocates say.

For generations, the migration of people from Central America seeking work elsewhere has served as a safety valve for the region, relieving pressure on the labor market and public services. Now, community leaders in Honduras fear that with fewer people migrating in search of opportunities in the United States, poverty will worsen and criminal gangs will find new recruits.

“People don’t have an opportunity to work in this country,” said Daniel Pacheco, an evangelical pastor in a gang-controlled sector of San Pedro Sula, one of the most violent cities in the world. “We’re very worried.”

Still, many here do not think the decrease in migration will endure for too long. The hardships of life in Honduras are too many, the government’s solutions are too few — and the allure of the United States is too great.

“The smoke of fear will drop, the migration will return,” said Sister Valdete Wilemann, who runs a center at the San Pedro Sula airport where Honduran migrants are processed after being deported from the United States.

The dream of going to the United States is “the culture,” she said. “You’re not going to rid Hondurans of that.”

Source: NYT > World

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