The “Humanitarian Crisis” in Latin America By Maia Noah

Regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity every single person deserves equal opportunities at success. The United States is a place of opportunity. It’s a democratic state, where everyone has a voice, and where everyone can reach high for their dreams and live to their full potential. Every kid whether they are from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, or Mexico should be able to get a full education, ultimately move on to a higher education, and make a living. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

These kids are the same as you and me. They are “Dreamers” just as the 44th president Barack Obama has referred to them as. They want their dreams to simply come true. With education not being a mandatory in Latin American countries, disadvantages in many walks of these kids lives’ emerge. In Honduras, only about 32 out of 100 students complete primary school. Primary school being kindergarten through second grade. Imagine growing up and never exceeding past a second grade reading level. Education is crucial. Without it, what success is really even possible?

Aside from education disadvantages in Latin American countries, kids have to witness high gang and crime rates at such young ages. Latin America has been ruled with the highest rates of violence.  According to Insight Crime “Some 350 people die violently in the region”. These people are experiencing a “Humanitarian Crisis” as Barack Obama has called it.

While there is much attention on refugees from the Middle East seeking safety, Latin American countries along with Mexico are experiencing their own refugee crisis in hopes to escape this violence, and lack of educational opportunities.

In 2014, women and children fled Mexico and Central America and came to the United States in great numbers. They ran for their lives, away from domestic violence and in search of refuge appointing the United States as an asylum. In 2014, more than 66,000 children traveled alone or accompanied by their families from the Northern Triangle region of El Salvador, a region with the highest rates of murder. That strikingly high number is only increasing.

Kids have been threatened in regions like El Salvador, to join gangs as a drug mule. This is someone who transports illegal drugs. When kids refuse, the gangs threaten to beat these innocent kids. Thus, they surge to the U.S. to escape threats similar to this common one.  

This Latin American Crisis is something that is crucial to understand. A common question is, “why are crime rates so high in these latin American countries?” A major factor is the lack of security. Governments have not been promising in these regions when it comes to state services. Along with the government's lack of security, the police and criminal justice systems in this areas are making light of the circumstances. They are not revising their methods and reevaluating their ways of law enforcement, thus creating a hopeless state among the public.

Latin American children need a place where they can thrive. They are in search for an asylum, and they deserve one.

maia noah