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Obama: U.S., Central America Share Responsibility For Influx Of Minors

At the White House on Friday, President Obama met with El Salvador's President Salvador Sanchez Ceren (from left), Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez to discuss the border crisis.
AP
At the White House on Friday, President Obama met with El Salvador's President Salvador Sanchez Ceren (from left), Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez to discuss the border crisis.

President Obama met with the leaders of three Central American countries at the White House on Friday, telling them that they share responsibility with Washington for stemming an influx of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina and Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez Ceren discussed the growing humanitarian crisis with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

The Associated Press says Obama told the leaders he wants to stem the flow of children. He said those without a proper claim to stay will be returned to their countries, the AP says.

Reuters says:

"Obama said there may be some instances in which migrants from those countries could apply for refugee status, but those instances would be few.

"Obama said the United States shared responsibility with those countries to address the problem, including the role of drug trafficking."

During a forum hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington on Thursday, Hernandez said he wanted to "appeal to the heart of Americans" to "see this as a humanitarian issue, an issue of neighbors."

As The Two-Way's Eyder Peralta reported, Molina, who also attended Thursday's forum, said the situation was a tragedy that "all of humanity should reflect on."

"Then, he took the long view. He said that with Plan Colombia and the Merida Initiative, the U.S. has helped combat violence in Colombia and Mexico, but he argued that as the countries pushed the violence of organized crime out, they have squeezed it into Central America.

" 'What has been good for Colombia and Mexico,' Molina said, 'has been bad for us.'

"Both presidents called on a new, regional initiative from the U.S. modeled on Plan Colombia and the Merida Initiative, which pumped billions of dollars into the countries to fight organized crime."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.

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