With Senate Democrats preparing to spend billions on the border crisis and the administration asking for still more, one man is calling for restraint: Francisco Portillo, president of the Honduran Francisco Morazan Integrated Organization in Miami.
“I think giving money to these governments is a serious mistake,” he told Florida Watchdog. ”Corruption in our country is huge, no limits. And the money they are talking about is coming from our taxes.”
Portillo, an immigration activist whose nonprofit provides legal aid to Central Americans and helps them adjust to life in the U.S., said that the administration may as well throw the money away as give it to the governments in Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador. (RELATED: Obama Blasts Boehner On Incoherent Migration Policy)
According to the Latin American Public Opinion Project, Honduras has one of the highest levels of perceived corruption in the region, as well as high levels of actual corruption victimization — one in every four Hondurans reports having been a victim of corruption. Hondurans support their current political system less than any other country in the region.
Of the $3.7 billion the White House requested in early July, $300 million would “support efforts to repatriate and reintegrate migrants to Central America, to help the governments in the region better control their borders, and to address the underlying root causes driving migration.” (RELATED: White House Says No Progress On Immigration Til Spending Bill Passes)
Portillo recommended that the administration focus instead on assisting groups in the region who can be trusted to ”ensure it is spent on helping these children who are returned to their countries. (RELATED: Biden Heckled By Pro-Immigration Protesters At Progressive Conference)
Just last week the president of Guatemala told the Washington Post that if the U.S. wants “to attack the root of the problem, I think that they need to think about making investments in countries like Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.” Instead of spending $20 billion on border security, he said, the administration should spend “just 10% of that”–$2 billion–in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
“I’m confident that it would be much more profitable than investing it on border security or border control with Mexico.”