Following Obama’s speech on Thursday evening — during which he announced that he will unilaterally protect some 5 million illegal aliens from deportation — Central American media outlets ran front-page articles describing the president’s order. Nearly every top online newspaper in Central America featured news stories describing Obama’s announcement. It is easy for one to imagine that the widespread coverage of the president’s executive order could encourage more foreigners to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
During the border crisis of 2014, illegal immigrants flocked to the U.S. from Central American countries such as Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. During Fiscal Year 2014, more than 68,000 unaccompanied minors from Central America — an unprecedented figure — were apprehended at the border.
While many on the left cite violence in Central America for the reason behind the spike in illegal border crossers. Critics, however, point out that there has been no significant spike in violence in Central American countries during recent years. They believe that Latin Americans are more likely to immigrate to the U.S. after hearing about its “lax” immigration policies through media and word-of-mouth.
Similarly, the mammoth Guatemala-based publication El Periodico published a front-page report title, “Obama Shields 5 Million Immigrants from Deportation.” The article stated, “Ignoring threats from conservatives, Obama announced this morning a series measures to protect the deportation nearly million undocumented immigrants and provide temporary work permits .”
It is easy to surmise that such reports emerging from Central America — many of which push the notion that the U.S. rewards, rather than punishes, those who break the law — could encourage more Honduras children to make the trip to the U.S.
Sylvia Longmire, a Breitbart Texas contributing editor and border security expert, said that word-of-mouth is a powerful motivating factor in Central American nations.
“Many Americans don’t understand the power of word-of-mouth in Latin America,” Longmire said. “It’s like gossip in a small American town times ten. Word about anything, especially friends or family members going though the northbound migration or southbound deportation process, spreads very quickly.”
She continued, “As immigrant detention policies are slowly changing in places like south Texas in order to accommodate spiking numbers of border crossings and subsequent illegal immigrant apprehensions, word is spreading about these changes. Now that DHS doesn’t want to split up families and is releasing so many non-criminal illegal immigrants with only orders to return in 15 days for a court hearing, those bring released are calling home.”
Ultimately, as word of Obama’s amnesty spreads through Central America, the U.S.-Mexico border will likely see a sharp uptick in illegal immigrants.
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.