Fact Sheet: Why Central American Families are Fleeing their Homes

Report
from Washington Office on Latin America
Published on 30 Jan 2018 View Original

Migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—known as the the Northern Triangle in Central America—continue to flee violence and insecurity, and seek protection in the United States.

7 REASONS WHY FAMILIES FLEE:

1. Northern Triangle countries are experiencing record levels of violence.
El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are facing unparalleled levels of violent crime and all three countries continue to rank among the most violent in the world.

2. Impunity rates for homicides in the Northern Triangle countries hover above 95 percent.
This means that 19 out of every 20 murders remain unsolved, and the likelihood of being caught, prosecuted or convicted for murder is practically nil.

3. Extortion is common, and the failure to pay can result in harassment, violence, or death.
It has been estimated that Salvadorans pay more than US$390 million a year in extortion fees, while Hondurans pay around $200 million and Guatemalans an estimated $61 million.

4. Lack of opportunity and poverty are serious problems.
According to the World Bank, 60 percent of people living in rural areas in the Northern Triangle live in poverty. Honduras’ July 2017 national census showed that 64.3 percent of all households live in poverty.

5. Women and children are particularly vulnerable to domestic violence and sexual assault.
El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala are some of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a woman. In Honduras, 468 women were killed in 2016—one every 18 hours.

6. Children and families under threat of violence and extortion often feel like they have nowhere to turn for protection.
In all three countries, citizens do not feel that the police will protect them and often fear the authorities as much as criminals. According to a 2016 survey in Honduras, 83 percent of the population believes the police are corrupt.

7. Being denied asylum or being deported can be a death sentence.
Although the United States does not have a comprehensive database of migrants who were killed after being returned to their countries of origin, the Global Migration Group at Columbia University has created a record of over 60 people who had been deported to their deaths or to other harm.