Over 25% of the residents of District 47 come from Central America. Last month I visited El Salvador, Honduras, and the Mexican-Guatemalan border as part of a national delegation of elected officials exploring the realities that are driving migration from these countries as well as learning about the conditions that await those who are deported back to Central America.
We met with top government officials in El Salvador and Honduras, had over 15 meetings with civic associations working with people migrating, and talked to many individuals who were fleeing those countries and also those who had been deported from Mexico and the US back to these countries. At the Guatemalan-Mexican border we toured a detention center where Central Americans are held and then deported back to the countries they were fleeing.
It was an eye-opening trip for me. I think the most important thing I discovered was that people are fleeing El Salvador and Honduras because of the violence and extreme poverty in those countries, not just for economic opportunity. I talked to numerous people whose family members had been killed and had to leave or face death themselves. Many people being deported from Mexico back to those Central American countries were trying again to emigrate: they feel they cannot afford to remain in their home country.
We cannot solve the immigration with greater border security. People who are dealing with death threats will leave those situations no matter how difficult it is to emigrate. I believe that we have to figure out how to help improve conditions in those countries so that people can live safe and healthy lives. The United States needs to spend less money on military aid and more money to assist development in Central America.
I hope to make a presentation with the other delegates from Maryland at a later time. I will make sure that everyone is invited.
Location: 4009 Wallace Road, North Brentwood MD 20722
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PRINCE GEORGE'S EMERGING LEADERS PROGRAM!
The Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) is designed to help develop 11th and 12th grade students into leaders and Community Trustees. During the program year, participants receive extensive leadership training and have access to valuable networking opportunities with both public and private stakeholders. In addition, participants discuss current issues and participate in activities designed to enhance their understanding of Prince George’s County and the Region. The program culminates with Emerging Leaders attending and being recognized at the Annual Leadership Prince George’s Graduation and Leadership Recognition Dinner. Graduation from the ELP Program requires attendance and participation in all scheduled workshops and activities during the 2016-2017 program year.
Application deadline is September 15th. Click here:for an application.