Cutting Off Aid To Central America Could Make The Immigration Problem Worse

If people can’t make a living at home, they migrate.

By Jill AmentApril 5, 2019 7:03 am,

The Trump administration is moving to cut off aid to Central America, and experts say this could make the migration crisis even worse.

Jonathan Blitzer is a staff writer for the New Yorker, and his latest story details the plight of impoverished laborers in Guatemala.

“I wasn’t expecting to see the scale and vastness of the problem in quite the way I did,” Blitzer says. “People’s lives depend on remittances and money coming from the U.S.”

Blitzer says climate change has worsened conditions considerably in recent years.

“People mostly live as subsistence farms,”  Blitzer says. “With changing weather patterns, particularly given how dramatic these weather patterns have changed in recent years, people no longer have a means either of feeding themselves or of actually making enough money to continue to survive.”

Blitzer says the changing climate also yield opportunities for the plantation of new crops, but switching production methods requires outside aid.

“That’s where American aid money comes in,” Blitzer says. “There has to be the political will to try to invest in long-term solutions to these problems.


More broadly, Blitzer says widespread corruption, poverty and mismanagement are at the root of increased emigration from Central American countries. He says while U.S. aid can’t provide food and work to every citizen, it can often affect these root causes.

“It’s helped mitigate some of these massive regional migration crises,” Blitzer says. “Taking that aid away is really only going to make the problem much, much worse.”

Written by Sol Chase.