CENTRAL AMERICA: Migrants or Refugees?


Unaccompanied children crossing the U.S.- Mexico border reached crisis numbers in 2014. A panel of experts discusses the tragic situations in Central America pushing these children north.

Sixty-six thousand children crossed the U.S.–Mexico border between October 2013 and September 2014, sparking a nationwide debate over U.S. immigration policy. Most of these migrants came from three Central American nations known for both deep poverty and intense violence: El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. For some, these children are economic migrants, coming to the United States to escape poverty and live “the American Dream.” Others point to the region’s stratospheric murder rates — Honduras has the highest homicide rate in the world — and argue that the migrants are fleeing for their lives and deserve asylum.

Angela E. Fillingim
Publication date: 
August 21, 2014
Publication type: 
Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies Article