Six California legislators returned last week from a two-week trip to Central America that was originally planned as a trade delegation. But their trip took on new urgency due to the crisis of thousands of unaccompanied children migrating to the U.S.
An estimated 58,000 children have been detained at the border in the past nine months, a situation President Obama described as “an urgent humanitarian situation.”
State Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, who spoke with Scott Shafer after returning, said the trip reinforced his belief that “the long-term solution to this crisis is to address the underlying economic and security conditions within these countries” -- namely El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
Unless this happens, Steinberg says that parents and children will continue to make the journey from their home countries in order to find better lives.
Speaking with The California Report from El Salvador on July 18, Steinberg said Salvadoran leaders are trying to make investments in education and economic development, but they struggle with a lack of resources. He said targeted U.S. assistance could be cost-effective in the long run, reducing the burden on the Border Patrol and immigration courts.