‘Unprecedented’: US braces for pandemic to drive largest refugee wave ever to the border

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Economic calamities caused by the coronavirus pandemic could trigger a historic wave of migration from Latin America to the United States, according to officials.

“If there is economic collapse in a given country, it is only natural that there will be migration flows to places where the economy is more robust,” U.S. Agency for International Development acting Administrator John Barsa told the Washington Examiner. “Are we concerned about the economic impacts that this might have, which could lead to migration? Absolutely.”

President Trump won the White House in part due to a pledge to stop illegal immigration, an issue that returned to the center of domestic politics following a 2014 border crisis that many Republican lawmakers and voters blamed on former President Barack Obama. That crisis featured tens of thousands of unaccompanied Central American children fleeing gang violence at home, but the cascade of social ills occasioned by the pandemic in multiple countries could dwarf that migration surge.

“You’re going to have millions and millions of Latin Americans out of jobs, with governments too broke to provide even the meager social safety nets they have,” a second senior U.S. official told the Washington Examiner. “How do you measure the number of refugees that come out of that level of devastation? You can’t put a number on it, but it’s reasonable to say that it would be completely unprecedented.” – READ MORE

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