Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández said the mixed messages from the Obama administration on the country’s immigration laws have contributed to thousands of his citizens believing that amnesty awaits them across the U.S.-Mexico border.
In an interview with Time before Obama met with the leaders of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador at the White House on Wednesday evening, Hernandez said, “The lack of clarity of U.S. immigration policy” was one of the primary factors compelling migrants to make harrowing journeys to the United States.
He said smugglers and coyotes are “disgracefully” convincing Hondurans to make journeys to America by telling them, “Now is when you can bring your child from Central America.”
“So my call to the United States is that it defines these rules with clarity,” he said.
There have been nearly 60,000 illegal immigrants who have entered the country since October of last year, and the number of illegal immigrants unlawfully entering the country drastically spiked after Obama passed his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012 that gave temporary amnesty to certain DREAMers. Obama has also vowed to ease deportations with executive actions and possibly grant temporary amnesty to millions of more Americans, including the parents of illegal immigrants. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) recently told La Raza’s annual conference that DACA was merely a “down payment” before Obama takes more steps to “stop the deportation of our people.”
Though the Obama administration has stepped up its public relations campaign in Central America to discourage illegal immigration, many migrants believe the Obama administration’s words and actions say otherwise. In fact, migrants continue to surrender themselves to Border Patrol agents and ask them for “permisos” that they believe will allow them to remain in the United States indefinitely.