Panelist Blog Posts

Sarah Bermeo, Duke University

Targeting and Tailoring Development Programs to Combat Forced Migration in Central America

Three broad reasons for leaving – violence, food insecurity, economic opportunity – have obvious overlap and crucial differences. Groups fleeing violence or extreme food insecurity contain large numbers of individuals and families who would not have migrated if conditions had not deteriorated. They are not traditional economic migrants. Targeting underlying causes can lower this need to leave.


Steven Dudley, InSightCrime

Drug Trafficking and Violence in the Northern Triangle

In this short blog, I will try to explain why an increase in drug trafficking has contributed to a steady rise in violence in the Northern Triangle, thus incentivizing migration.


Vicki Gass, Oxfam America 

How Can We Turn the Tide in Central America?

Weak rule of law, corruption and impunity must be addressed if we are really going to crack these drivers of out migration and challenges along the migrant route.


Cindy Huang and Jimmy Graham, Center for Global Development

Responding to Northern Triangle Immigration with Policies that Benefit Both Migrants and Hosts

How managing migration for mutual benefit, and understanding the needs of potential migrants, may be the key to success in addressing the situation in the Northern Triangle. 


Christopher Inkpen, RTI International

Victimization, Gangs, and Intentions to Migrate in the Northern Triangle

This post focuses on a study that seeks to explain how crime and the presence of gangs in the Northern Triangle are associated with migration. 


David Leblang, University of Virginia

US Immigration Policy, Deportations, and the Migration Boomerang

US deportation policies feed violence in countries who often lack adequate social and institutional mechanism to control the spread of violence.


Michael Paarlberg, Virginia Commonwealth University

How a Fake Gang Crisis in the US Helps Fuel a Real One in Central America

Migration, including unauthorized migration, to the U.S. has been on a steady general decline since the Great Recession; Department of Homeland Security figures show that unauthorized border crossings are the lowest they have been in a decade. As for crime that President Trump blames on immigrants, violent crime rates have been dropping sharply since the 1990s. A focal point of this strategy has been MS-13, a criminal gang (better described as a loose affiliation of gang franchises) born in the U.S., but which has taken on deeper roots in Central America, and presents a convenient bogeyman for the Trump administration’s efforts to paint immigrants as violent criminals. My research on the gang has found its US presence to be greatly exaggerated by administration rhetoric.


Cristobal Ramón, Bipartisan Policy Center

Helping Mexico Maintain a Middle Path on Migration Should Be the United States’ Priority in Managing the Central American Migration Crisis

This post focuses on the way that President Trump’s efforts to push Mexico to take a harder line stance on immigration enforcement overlooks the country’s challenge in balancing the enforcement of its immigration laws with providing Central American migrants with humanitarian protection. Rather than pursuing this strategy, I argue that the Mexican government’s challenge requires additional investment in its refugee system from the United States to help the country—and the broader region—effectively manage the historic influx of Central Americans seeking humanitarian protection in Mexico and the United States.


Rachel Schmidtke

U.S.-Mexico Development Cooperation

This post focuses on the diverging views among Mexico and the U.S. concerning development funding.  Cooperation on development is discussed as a way to address issues in the Northern Triangle. 


Ariel G. Ruiz Soto

Heightened Flows and Legal Pathways for Migrants in Mexico

Facing heightened migration flows from Central America and seeking to distinguish itself from its predecessor, the López Obrador administration soon after taking office adopted a new migration policy intended to promote safe, legal, and orderly migration while prioritizing human-right protections.