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Trump admin Dismissed its own Signs of climate change’s Effect on migration from Central America

Last updated on September 20, 2019

Research compiled annually past by Customs and Border Protection pointed to an overpowering factor forcing record-setting migration into the U.S. from Guatemala: Pairing deficits were leaving rural Guatemalans, especially in the nation’s western highlands, in extreme poverty and hunger.

An internal report which was circulated to senior Homeland Security officials and obtained by NBC News revealed that migration jumped from those regions of Guatemala without dependable subsistence farming or salaries from commercial farming occupations. Over 100,000 Guatemalans led north annually, and several more followed in the financial year 2019, making Guatemala the single biggest nation leading to undocumented immigration throughout the U.S. southwest edge this past year.

Researchers have said the growth in poverty and food insecurity driving migration are the result of multiple factors, among which will be climate change.

But within the Trump White House, this message has been mostly ignored in both policy choices and messaging about what should be achieved to stem the stream of migrants.

“We shall now start cutting off or substantially reducing; the huge foreign aid routinely contributed to them.”

Back in April, the government followed, project a review of the financial year 2017 support and murdering $170 million in overseas aid slated for Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Over $400 million in the fiscal year 2018 outside help will also be reprogrammed elsewhere, such as outside the Western Hemisphere.

With signs of a correlation between acute food insecurity and migration in the Trump administration instead focused on an arrangement with the authorities of Guatemala to stem the stream of immigrants throughout law enforcement means.

Under the arrangement with Guatemala, an outline of which was acquired by NBC News, almost 90 Americans in Immigration and Customs and Enforcement and CBP have been supposed to deploy into Guatemala to prevent immigrants from other African American nations by passing through their boundaries on the way into the U.S. Vehicles and gear to assist Guatemalan law enforcement are also included in the agreement, which has been summarized in May and Founded in July.

The outline conditions: “Improving border protection is sought to be able to reduce irregular migration flows; execute the essential training to encourage and improve criminal investigations; tangible activities to counteract human trafficking and human smuggling; along with the interdiction of illegal drug trafficking…” Nowhere in the arrangement is food insecurity or overseas aid mentioned.

And an arrangement between Guatemala and the Department of Labor has been signed in July to make sure the Guatemalan farm workers coming into the U.S. on temporary visas are valued from the Guatemalan authorities. However, not one of those activities takes on the effect of climate change and variability about the food source at Guatemala’s highlands.

“We continue to move ahead to the President’s decision regarding foreign aid for Guatemala, and have stopped obligating new capital for Guatemala.”

The movement to freeze funds frustrated those inside the government and out of it who was advocating for answers to the”push factors” of immigration enforcement-oriented options that crackdown “pull factors,” for example creating a wall to block migrants in the U.S. border.

However, a DHS official said the significant turnover within the bureau has made officials worried about maintaining their jobs and anxious to please the White House, especially senior advisor Stephen Miller.


A senior federal law enforcement officer echoed those sentiments: “There’s a source of migration. However, the question presupposes that if you know, there is a refugee crisis associated with climate change, you need to do something about it.”

Data-based proof
In an interview with the Washington Post at September 2018, then-CBP Commissioner McAleenan said, “Food insecurity, not violence, appears to be an integral push factor telling the choice to travel from Guatemala, in which we’ve seen the most significant growth in migration leak this past season.”

He established his position mostly on interviews conducted by Border Patrol agents together with immigrants in the edge, where they’re routinely asked to be as specific as you can about where they’re from. By overlaying that data with information about food insecurity, CBP saw clear signs of a correlation.

The CBP data made evident in regions affected severe food insecurity, such as Guatemala’s Huehuetenango, Chiquimula, and Zacapa divisions, the prices of migration have been higher than in the areas without food-deficit issues.

Scientists state food insecurity could be traced to several things. A fungus called coffee leaf rust is rapidly increasing because of climate change during the Dry Corridor, a multinational area extending through Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. In so doing, it’s killing the area’s cash crop, coffee. That, together with global competition and a years-long drought, has made the plant almost useless. Other plants are also suffering, making tasks in commercial farming to supplement income challenging to find too, leaving whole communities without meals to market, or cash to purchase food to consume.

“Our study suggests that the primary driver of the current migration in Guatemala is raising socio-economic vulnerability,” stated Diego Pons, an employed climatologist by Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society, part of Columbia World Programs. “This has been made worse for a drought that can’t be explained by climate change independently, but it is part of a bigger complex climate system.”

Last week, INSIVUMEH, the national meteorological support of Guatemala, announced the initiation of the NextGen seasonal forecasting system using all the scientific assistance of Columbia University’s ACToday initiative, which Pons stated is the kind of application that may mitigate some consequences of climate change and variability within the lives of Guatemalans. It assists farmers to decide when to plant, and it doesn’t rely upon U.S. foreign help.

“NextGen can make Guatemala a pioneer in the area in regards to climate forecasting. This is a historic step forward for the nation. It is going to have now the ability to give climate services not only to a but to all Guatemalans, particularly those who rely on rain-fed agriculture for income and food.”

While seeing Chiquimula and Zacapa using the World Food Program and Pons in August, NBC News found villages where children have been suffering from malnutrition, such as a person, Las Sopas, in which five children died a year of starvation. Now the World Food Program, that also doesn’t directly rely on financing from the USA authorities is feeding on the village’s kids in the community’s college in crisis response.

“Lots of those children who are here, come because they know for certain there is likely to be more food,” a neighborhood teacher clarified. When the kids waiting in line for meals in the NGO were asked if they knew somebody who’d abandoned for the U.S., approximately half raised their hands.