The president of Honduras told a congressional delegation visiting the region Sunday that the surge in illegal immigration from Central America to the United States has been caused by poverty, violence, and misinformation, according to a report from Agence France-Presse.
A congressional delegation led by Texas Republican Rep. Kay Granger visited Central America over the weekend. House Speaker John Boehner recently tapped Granger to head a working group on the ongoing crisis of unaccompanied minors illegally crossing the border.
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez told the delegation that the influx has arisen from a “complicated” set of issues, including “violent crime and the lack of information about the US immigration reform legal process,” spokesman Jorge Hernandez Alcerro said, according to AFP.
The spokesman added that the misinformation has made people believe they will be able to legally get into the United States.
A press release from the Honduran Embassy listed working group members Granger, Rep. John Carter (R-TX), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Rep.Steve Pearce (R-NM), and Matt Salmon (R-AZ), as well as Democratic Reps. David Price (D-NC) and Henry Cuellar (D-TX) as part of the visiting delegation.
The congressional delegation, which did not publicize its travels to the region ahead of time, also met with Guatemalan President Otto Perez Saturday, according to AFP. The Guatemalan government said in the next ten days it would offer a list of ideas to deal with the crisis.
Since October, more than 57,000 unaccompanied minors have been detained illegally crossing the southwest border. The vast majority are from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
President Obama has requested $3.7 billion in emergency appropriations from Congress to deal with the influx at the border. Granger’s seven-member working group is expected to give its first report to the House GOP Conference Tuesday.